Supporters, critics already begin debate on raising Virginia’s minimum wage

Capitol Connection

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Members of the group “Raise the Wage Virginia” called on state legislators Tuesday to pass a bill filed for the 2020 General Assembly session that would raise the minimum wage in Virginia.

Virginia’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum wage, but proposed legislation is pushing for Virginia to raise its minimum wage up to $15.

The “Raise the Wage Virginia” group say the change could help people pay rent, put food on the table and afford medical care. The Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce said an increase will likely affect parts of the state differently.

“A lot of us have gone through working for seven dollars, that’s not enough. Our workers deserve this, a simple livable wage of at least $15,” CASA Virginia Director Luis Aguliar told 8News.

Some critics believe raising the minimum wage could be detrimental to small businesses.

“They’re going to have to cut hours, they may have to eliminate entry level jobs for folks that have little skills or are new to the workplace or they might try to raise the cost of their goods and services,” said Nicole Riley with the National Federation of Independent Business.

If the new General Assembly passes the bill, Virginia’s minimum wage would increase gradually. It would rise to $9 per hour this summer and reach $15 an hour by 2023.

The 2020 General Assembly session convenes on Wednesday.

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