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Minimum Wage Boost “Would Help Me and My Kids”

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Thursday, March 6, 2014   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As lawmakers consider raising the state minimum wage, they're hearing from West Virginians who say that would help them and their children.

Morgantown mother Jamie Gudiel works two low-wage retail jobs. Her husband works full-time at a low-wage landscaping position.

She says one of the hardest parts of their life is that she doesn't get home until 10:30 or 11 p.m. – so she barely has time to be a mother to her three young children.

Gudiel says if the minimum wage were increased, she might get to quit one job.

"I'm still going to struggle, but at least I can give my kids a better quality of life for them, and be with them, and help them with their homework," she says.

The version of the bill to be taken up by the full Senate would raise the minimum wage to $8.75 in stages over three years.

Critics say boosting the minimum wage would cut hiring.

Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, says the evidence shows much of that would be offset by increasing consumer demand.

Plus, he says it would ease the burden on taxpayers from programs such as SNAP – formerly food stamps.

Boettner adds a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour would cut SNAP spending in West Virginia by $45 million a year.

"Instead of cutting SNAP like we're already beginning to do, we could make sure the program is having a greater impact by raising the minimum wage,” he explains. “That way, we save money – and the money can go to where it really needs to."

For Gudiel, it's about more than numbers – it's about getting her life back.

"Absolutely, when you have to have two jobs, it's taking over your entire life,” she says. “Yes, I work six days a week. I have one day off."





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