Our Views: Wait for federal wage

That key votes on a proposed increase in Louisiana’s minimum wage were so close shows how politically popular the issue is.

The House’s labor committee voted 10-6 against a proposal by Alexandria Rep. Herbert Dixon to make $8.25 per hour the minimum wage by next year. Then, lawmakers voted 9-5 to reject New Orleans Rep. Jared Brossett’s bill calling for a $10.10 per hour minimum wage for next year.

In both cases, the Democrats pushing the bills made a strong argument that people at the minimum wage today are not making ends meet, even when putting in 40 hours a week on the job. The result: those pretty close votes in a chamber dominated by Republicans.

At the same time, members recognized that most people don’t stay at the minimum wage for long, and in an improving economy since the catastrophic financial collapse of 2008 the demand for labor will increase, with at least some positive impact on pay.

The federal $7.25 an hour minimum wage has not been adjusted since 2007. Yet an increase will have, as a new academic study reports, at least some impact on new hiring, although that is not as substantial as some critics suggest.

While we would not necessarily oppose an increase in the federal minimum wage, we tend to agree with Gov. Bobby Jindal that Louisiana should stick with that number instead of having its own level. A higher wage than our neighboring states might be something of a competitive disadvantage for businesses.

Raises are obviously popular, but they come with costs.