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Minimum Wage In Indiana: Could Lawmakers Approve An Increase?

Currently, 29 states and D.C. have higher minimum wages than the federal level.

Noon Edition airs Fridays at 12:00 p.m. on WFIU.

Workers in 18 states and 19 cities are getting bumps in their paychecks thanks to minimum wage increases taking effect in the new year.

10 states are raising wages due to ballot measures or legislation, while eight states will see smaller increases from automatic inflation adjustments.

Indiana minimum wage has stayed at $7.25 since the last federal increase in 2009. Indiana Senate Democrats are once again putting a minimum wage increase on their 2018 legislative agenda.

This week on Noon Edition, our panelists discussed the possibility of an increase for Hoosiers.

Guests:

Lisa Amsler: Keller-Runden Professor of Public Service, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Timothy Slaper: Director of Economic Analysis, Indiana Business Research Center

Conversation: Minimum Wage In Indiana

There are multiple legislative efforts working their way through the Indiana General Assembly this legislative session aimed at minimum wage increases.

One is a Democratic bill, SB121, that would incrementally increase Indiana’s minimum wage to $15 by 2021. The other is a Republican bill, SB15, which gives tax credits to employers who increase pay for employees that complete a career enhancement program.

Timothy Slaper is the Director of Economic Analysis for the Indiana Business Research Center. He says linking inflation to minimum is a much easier way to increase the minimum wage without political conflict.

“It takes a lot of blood in the streets with these different parties colliding and clashing to pass this kind of legislation. Why not have some automatic incremental increase?” Slaper says.

Neighboring state Ohio along with 17 other states and D.C. already have minimum wages that automatically increase with inflation.

Lisa Amsler is a Professor of Public Service with the IU School of Public and International Affairs. She says the lower rates of unionization are hurting workers’ efforts for higher wages.

“Think about the structural inequality built into our laws between employers and employees. Employees don’t have that much bargaining power when they’re bargaining individually,” Amsler says. “The way that they have power is when they act collectively.”

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