News & Politics

OK Governor Signs Bill Banning Minimum Wage Hikes Throughout Her State

Republican Mary Fallin apparently thinks homogeneous poverty is the best way forward.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ensured that minimum wage workers throughout her state continue to live below the poverty level by signing a bill banning mandated minimum wages, sick days or vacation time. Supporters of the bill say that it will create economic homogeneity in the state ... and that is a good thing. Opponents say it targets Oklahoma City specifically, where an initiative to establish a citywide minimum wage that is higher than the current federal minimum wage was underway. The initiative would have raised the city's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

The initiative still had a ways to go, according to David Slain, the lawyer who wrote it. They would need 80,000 signatures to bring it to a statewide vote. He expressed disappointment that the state's Legislature "would vote in such a way to take the right of the people to decide minimum wage," to the AP.

Pro-business supporters of the bill, including Governor Fallin, said it protects small businesses, and creates a "level playing field" throughout the state."An artificial raise in the minimum wage could derail local economies in a matter of months," Rep. Randy Grau, the Republican who carried the bill to the House, told the AP. "This is a fair measure for consumers, workers and small business owners."

Gov. Fallin agreed. She had already voiced her opposition to President Obama's call to raise the federal minimum wage to $10,10 an hour, and his encouragement to states and municipalities to take minimum wage hikes into their own hands.

Fallin released a statement saying that raising minimum wage is not the way to bring people out of poverty. Her pro-business logic: "Mandating an increase in the minimum wage would require businesses to fire many of those part-time workers. It would create a hardship for small business owners, stifle job creation and increase costs for consumers." Her argument flies in the face of the CBO’s report that such an increase could boost collective earnings by $31 billion for 33 million low-wage workers and bring an estimated 900,000 people out of poverty.

She also perpetuated the fiction that most minimum-wage workers are young, single people, high school and college students living with their middle class families, so they don't really need a wage hike.

Governor Fallin, the chair of the National Governors Association, led a national conference of governors that clashed over President Obama’s proposal to increase the national minimum wage to $10.10. Fallin is a strong proponent of the view that the market will “take care of itself.”

But just in case it doesn't, Fallin also signed three other pro-business bills Monday dealing with tax credits for banking institutions, public investments, and membership of the Alarm and Locksmith Industry Committee.





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