BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "I've been working all my life and I keep hearing y'all talking about a minimum wage. How about a living wage?" says Reginald Junior. "That's what we need a living wage. The money I make, 347 dollars a week, is not enough money to take care of my family."
It was one sad story after another in the House Labor Committee Thursday morning.
"As you have heard the current minimum wage is inadequate to cover the basic needs," says Colette Tippy. "A minimum wage earner working 40 hours a week cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any state. In Louisiana in 2012 a minimum wage earner would have to work 78 hours at minimum wage to pay rent on a two-bedroom apartment."
But the restaurant association talked of layoffs and argued that the mom and pop-owned stores would suffer. LSU economist Robert Newman agrees.
"Though well intentioned we have a very large body of research that suggests the proposed increase in the minimum wage will do more harm than good," Newman said.
Finally by a vote of 10-6, the bill by Representative Herbert Dixon of Alexandria was rejected. It would have raised the current minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over a period of 3 years which would help people like Oscar Washington.
"I get paid $8 an hour," Washington says. "I'm working 40 hours a week and I still can't afford a one- bedroom apartment by myself. I still have to take care of my son. I do for me. I go to school."