Raise Minimum Wage
2/14/2020, 6 a.m.
Our state is struggling. One in every six children in Virginia is growing up in poverty. Nearly two-thirds of Virginia families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold have at least one adult who is working, yet they are paid too little to make ends meet.
There is one solution: Raise the minimum wage.
Today’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for a 40-hour work week brings in $15,000 a year. This is not enough to support a family. A job should keep people out of poverty, not trap them in poverty.
For more than 20 years, I have owned and managed Realty Executives Peninsula in Newport News. Our company has always paid well above the minimum wage. I am calling on our legisla- tors to pass a law to increase the minimum wage in Virginia.
I support Delegate Jeion A. Ward’s bill — HB395 — to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
In my experience, employees who are paid well are more dedicated, more enthusiastic about their work and they are more caring of their colleagues and customers. This develops a culture of integrity and self-respect. Their children do better in school and people have hope for the future.
Studies show that increasing the minimum wage increases local economic activity because workers will spend most of their increased wages in our communities.
And as a person of faith, I see fair wages as an ethical is- sue. When people are paid a fair wage, they can eat well, their health and living conditions improve and they have a sense of dignity. The whole community is uplifted when workers are paid a living wage.
The writer is a member of the board of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.