Oklahoma lawmaker proposes minimum wage boost - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Oklahoma lawmaker proposes minimum wage boost

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Oklahoma's minimum wage is $7.25, the same as the federal minimum wage.

"I don't think that it's kept up with the cost of living," said Kim Cash. "Everything else has gone up."

"Depending on what their job is, I think people should get paid more," Anna Bolding added.

State Sen. George Young (D-District 48) wants to fix that. On Friday, he introduced Senate Bill 1165, which would boost the state's minimum wage to $10.50.

"The spending power of a minimum wage paycheck has been significantly reduced since the last minimum wage raise more than a decade ago," Young said in announcing his legislation.

"I think that's a nice number," Cash said. "$10.50, I think, would be fair."

But there is a growing concern about how big of a raise is too much. Some parts of the country, like California, have raised the wage to $13.

"You can't just take it and double it; that doesn't work that way, economics doesn't work that way," said Evan Eldridge. "It needs to go up a little bit because every year things get more expensive, inflation, all that. So yes, it needs to go up but it can't go up to $15 from $7.25."

Texas and Kansas match Oklahoma's minimum wage, but Arkansas is already at $10 an hour and is looking for an even bigger increase.

"If you can't pay the people to work there, then they don't have a job... so then you make nothing," Eldridge said. "So, $7.25 is better than zero." 

Sen. Young has previously proposed similar legislation to hike the state's minimum wage, but those efforts have failed.

"Closing the wage gap between the poverty line and middle class would have a tremendous impact on our economy by increasing consumer spending and generating more tax revenue for our municipalities and state," he said.

Here is the text of Senate Bill 1165

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