Del. lawmaker proposes economic impact study on raising minimum wage to $15 an hour

DELAWARE – A local legislator is hoping to push the needle forward on getting Delaware’s minimum wage raised to $15 an hour. Representative Bryan Shupe introduced a bill that would require the state to conduct an economic impact analysis on how raising the minimum wage would impact the first state. “If we are going towards $15 an hour or if we don’t want to go towards $15 an hour, are there certain things within this study that we can use to help Delaware families in a better way? If the ultimate decision is not to do $15, is there another number that helps our Delaware families?” said Rep. Shupe.

The study would be conducted by the Controller General’s Office, and focus on how Delaware could reach $15 an hour minimum wage over the span of five years. Rep. Shupe says a study on the economic impact is important to do before making any major steps with minimum wage. “This analysis is intended to guide us as lawmakers, show the public and press empirical evidence instead of political talking points. I think that is really the basis of this legislation – to get away from the emotional decisions on both ends,” said Rep. Shupe.

In the past, economic experts have predicted that raising Delaware’s minimum wage to $15 an hour could cost the state about $40 million. But Rep. Shupe says that number doesn’t account for the cost to taxpayers, and how raising minimum wage would impact state contracts. “That does not include raising the wages for people that make $15 an hour now – raising them equitably from what the percentage would be for those who make under $15,” said Rep. Shupe. “We pay the outside companies to do work for us. Now we’re going to ask them to pay their individuals between 40% and 60 % higher wages. We need to take that into consideration when we give them state contracts.”

Rep. Shupe says if the bill passes, the key component to making the study successful would be planning ahead. “This isn’t a one time cost. It’s an ongoing cost that will be every year, then eventually $15 wont be the minimum wage anymore. So, how do we plan for the future long term?” said Rep. Shupe.

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