Half a dozen bills designed to raise the state’s minimum wage are working their way through a Texas House committee. Currently, Texas pays at the federal rate which is $7.25 an hour.
A significant bump in hourly pay could be a long shot in a staunchly conservative legislature. One advocacy group has just issued a study endorsing President Obama's call to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
If the Center for Public Policy Priorities has its way, no worker in Texas would make less than $10.10 an hour. That's almost a $3 raise from the current rate.
“If you are working full time in Texas and make a minimum wage, you’re only bringing home a little over $15,000 a year,” says Garrett Groves, with the Center for Public Policy Priorities.
The Austin-based non-profit’s new study calls for a minimum wage increase now, and Groves spent Tuesday at the Capitol listening to proposed legislation that would do just that.
“If we want to live in a state where hard work really means self-sufficiency, we need to raise the minimum wage in Texas,” he says.
The study by the CPPP shows more than a quarter of Texas workers would get a raise if the minimum wage jumped to $10.10. And Groves says most of those employees are the core of the workforce.
“Sixty percent of those who would benefit from a minimum wage increase are in their prime working years, that’s 25 to 64, when they should be saving for college, investing in retirement,” he says. “They’re not able to do so on a minimum wage salary.”
The study also calculated what it calls a “living wage” in major Texas cities. In Dallas/Fort Worth, a single adult needs to make $13.84 an hour to cover food, housing, healthcare and transportation. That’s the equivalent of almost two jobs at the current minimum wage.