Debate continues over raising minimum wage workers pay

Senate Bill 170 still sits on the table in Legislative Hall in Dover.  But the debate that we saw in March has been rekindled with a new bill proposed by Senator Robert Marshall.

The bill would increase the minimum wage by increments of 50 cents every October 1st, through 2021, when it would max out at $10.25 an hour.

As of now, there have not been enough votes to bring it up for a vote, though it was on the agenda Thursday.

The wage hikes would effect 43,000 minimum wage workers in Delaware and their employers.

Proponents we spoke with tell us the hike in wage doesn't just effect kids in their first job out of school, but hard working adults looking for a livable wage.

"For those people who think, those legislators who think that minimum wage earners are just young kids starting out in their first job, that's just false," said Senator Bryan Townsend, a Democrat from the 11th district.  "There's so many people now at days who work at or near the minimum wage, put 40-plus hours a week in and are barely getting by."

We spoke with multiple opponents of the bill who declined an on camera interview, but tell us the raise would hurt the agriculture industry and small businesses who are barely meeting their margins.

Other entities agreed during the debate in March that raising the minimum wage would hurt business, including the Delaware Restaurant Association.

But Townsend argues the added money in the pockets of Delawareans will translate to added spending money that will be reinvested in Delaware businesses.

"But the reality is that this is money that goes back into peoples pockets that they are going to spend.  This is going to re circulate back into the economy," asserted Townsend.  "When we have a more equal economy, when we have more people with more opportunity, we all do better."

The legislative session will come to an end on Saturday.

Categories: Delaware, Local News