Lawmakers to Consider Raising Minimum Wage
A Cheyenne lawmaker is working to raise the minimum wage.
Representative Jim Byrd, D-Cheyenne, is sponsoring a bill that would increase the state's minimum wage from $5.15/hour to $9.50/hour.
"It's something that's overdue," said Byrd. "There are a large number of people that are working at or below a livable wage."
Byrd says many Wyomingites are having to work two jobs to make ends meet.
"If those people are single parents, then they have to shortcut the parenting," said Byrd. "That turns into latchkey kids, potential for problems there, and it really does unravel the moral fiber of society."
Byrd says he really doesn't understand why Wyoming's minimum wage is so low, other than the fact that some employers don't think their employees are worth more money.
"There's really no good cause for this other than some business owners trying to pad the bottom line," said Byrd. "And it's been proven over and over again that if you raise the minimum wage it does not adversely affect your bottom line unless you are really bad at managing business."
Byrd proposed raising the minimum wage to $9.00/hour in 2014 and 2015, but the Legislature defeated both measures. He says the fact that he's still working on the issue says a lot about the state's business climate.
"In Wyoming, it's really stacked against the employees from all sides." said Byrd. "That's one of the reasons we don't have a very strong workforce and a lot of companies pass Wyoming by when they come to look to set up shop here is because people with the training and the experience of looking for better wages are always leaving Wyoming."