Tennessee Democrats Push For State Minimum Wage

(Memphis) Tennessee Democrats say you can’t make a living, and you definitely can’t support a family, if you make minimum wage.

They say it takes about $9 to $12 an hour to support a family, not $7.25.

That’s why they’re planning to push for a higher wage when the session starts next week.

“It would boost all the industry or all of the conditions just a little bit. I think 2014 will be that year and this would help it,” said State Senator Reginald Tate of Memphis.

Senator Tate says the minimum wage is so low at $7.25 that many people in Memphis are having to resort to selling drugs and other criminal activity to survive.

“I think it’s well needed. We need a push. We need that little boost if you will that would make all these dominoes take effect,” said Senator Tate.

Senator Tate thinks it would spark an economic boom.

Republican State Representative Mark White, also from Shelby County, sits on the other side of the aisle and has a completely different view.

He says raising the minimum wage would kill the economy.

“As a former business owner and I believe pushing up the minimum wage many times costs jobs for those who need it the most. So I think private practice or private entrepreneurship should be the judge of that,” said Representative White.

Tennessee is one of only five states that don’t have a minimum wage in place, and Governor Bill Haslam thinks it’s going to stay that way.

“I’d be surprised if that gets much traction in the legislative session this year just to be frank. I mean we’ll see, but I’d be surprised if that took off much,” said Haslam.

So far, Democrats haven’t said what the Tennessee minimum wage should be, they just say it should be higher.

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