Louisiana Needs a Higher Wage

Louisianans of all political stripes support a higher minimum wage

Louisianans of all political stripes strongly favor establishing a state minimum wage of at least $8.50 an hour that would keep pace with the cost of living, according to polling data released as part of a new report from the Louisiana Budget Project.

The poll of 1,279 Louisiana adults by LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab found that 73 percent of the public supports raising the wage from the current minimum of $7.25 per hour. The support is consistent across party lines, with 62 percent of Republicans favoring the higher wage along with nearly 70 percent of political independents. Voters in every age, income and racial bracket support the higher wage.

“While some politicians make the minimum wage a partisan issue, the verdict from everyday Louisianans is clear and bipartisan: it’s time to give workers a raise,” LBP Director Jan Moller said.

The data is included in a new report by David Gray, “Louisiana Needs a Higher Wage,” that also found that an $8.50 minimum wage would provide an immediate raise for 184,000 workers, create an estimated 1,400 new jobs and pump more than $187 million into Louisiana’s economy. Raising the wage to $10.10 per hour would have even bigger benefits for workers and the overall economy.

“This report should put to rest some of the tired misconceptions about minimum wage workers, “ Moller said. “A modest raise in the minimum wage would have huge benefits for Louisiana workers and would actually help create jobs as workers have bigger paychecks to spend throughout the economy.”

Many people assume that minimum wage workers are mainly teens working part-time jobs. But the reality is that teens make up less than 10 percent of the minimum wage workforce. Nearly one-third of all low-wage workers are over 40, and almost two-thirds work full-time hours.

For a copy of the full report, which includes a complete breakdown of the poll and other details about the minimum wage workforce in Louisiana, click here.

They include details about safety-net programs like Medicaid, tax credits for low-income workers and educational scholarships and help promote a better understanding of how safety-net programs affect different communities across our state.
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