Push for Indiana minimum wage increase likely stalled again

A renewed call by Democrats for an increase to Indiana’s minimum wage isn’t winning over Republicans who control the Statehouse, with the governor saying his goal is to prepare workers for advancing beyond low-paying jobs.

The Democratic-backed proposal would unlink Indiana from the current federal minimum wage that’s remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009. The plan would boost Indiana’s minimum wage to $10 an hour beginning in 2022 then by an additional $1 an hour each year until it reaches $15 in 2027.

Indiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature has declined over the last several years to take up Democratic-sponsored bills to raise the minimum wage.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said he wants more money directed toward state-funded job training to help people advance into better-paying careers.

“What I don’t want people to be caught up in is tethered to some appeal to a minimum expectation of anything in their life,” Holcomb said. “Especially while we have resources here to help folks with the opportunities that are out there now.”

Democratic Sen. Eddie Melton of Gary argues the costs for housing, transportation, child care, food and other necessities have gone up 20% or more since the last minimum wage increase.

“During this pandemic, our working Hoosiers kept our groceries stores open, delivered our food and our packages during the quarantine, cleaned our stores and even our offices just to keep us safe,” Melton said. “We can’t just simply show our gratitude by saying ‘thank you.’ We also should show it by fighting for them to increase their wages to a livable wage.”

Indiana and Kentucky have their minimum hourly wages tied to the federal law, while the Ohio minimum is set at $8.80, Michigan at $9.65 and Illinois statewide minimum is $11, according to the federal Department of Labor.

Melton said that legislators should at least repeal the 2011 law prohibiting Indiana’s counties and cities from setting a local minimum wage that’s higher than the federal rate.

“This is an unnecessary and harmful statute that tramples on the rights of small government and does nothing to move our state forward,” Melton said.

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10 thoughts on “Push for Indiana minimum wage increase likely stalled again

  1. “Melton said that legislators should at least repeal the 2011 law prohibiting Indiana’s counties and cities from setting a local minimum wage that’s higher than the federal rate.”

    No kidding. Indiana’s legislature is top tier in passing laws that take rights away from its municipalities – especially Indy and its suburbs. It’s always vindictive BS too.

  2. “What I don’t want people to be caught up in is tethered to some appeal to a minimum expectation of anything in their life,” Holcomb said

    There it is. Clear as day. Republican leaders in this state don’t want workers to have any expectations for their quality of life. They should be thankful that a below-subsistence job is even available to them. “A State that Works” B.S.

  3. We have been talking about a $15 minimum wage for years now. Adjusted for inflation, the target should be about $17 now, thus illustrating the whole problem with the current minimum wage laws that do not adjust for inflation.

    1. Actually the CPI increases since 2009, the last time the federal minimum wage was increased, would translate to an $8.75 minimum wage today using an online inflation calculator.

  4. I’d imagine Holcomb’s statement sounds pretty tone deaf to a lot of people working in jobs at or near minimum wage. I can understand wanting to promote job training programs and the like to help people advance to better careers, especially where there are current openings, but we shouldn’t look down on people in low wage jobs and just tell them to go find something better. It kinda belies the fact that we need someone for every job.

  5. $15 may be excessive for Indiana and several other states, but it definitely needs to increase. The US is weird in that it has so many states, all of which have different economic conditions. I wish the federal government would force their hand withhold some type of funding for states that don’t pass minimum wage legislation that links minimum wage to inflation, cost of living, and average wages. Many developed countries link minimum wage to the aforementioned variables and it works fine. It is the way to do it. Much better than if the feds raised the federal minimum wage to $15, which would be a one-time increase and would be excessive for many states.

  6. Before the federal government coerces states to link their minimum wages to the CPI, it should link the federal minimum wage to it (the last time the federal minimum wage was increased was July 24, 2009). If such a link had been enacted then, it would translate to an $8.75 federal minimum wage today (per an online inflation calculator).

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