Why we need to raise the minimum wage in Delaware

January 24, 2014

There is currently a Senate Bill in committee to raise the current Delaware state minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to over $8, but it has stalled. Living in our region is very expensive, and someone working 50 hours a week for 52 weeks makes only $18,850 a year before taxes - hardly enough for one person to get by on, let alone anyone with a family to support.

About 10 percent of citizens living in Sussex County live below the poverty line, with close to five percent making less than 50 percent below the poverty line. For a region whose major industries are construction, tourism, poultry processing, and food service, and rents above average, it is very difficult to make ends meet for those who support these industries.

While the argument goes that smaller retail businesses would take a hit, especially with the hundreds of students hired during the summer, it is also a valid argument, that the extra money earned here will be spent here by these workers just trying to get their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing met. It is not just to show leadership in Delaware that discussion of raising the state’s minimum wage should be reopened for discussion, it is just the right thing to do.

Betty Kirk


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