Smyk explains minimum wage hike vote

February 13, 2014

Delaware recently enacted a new law to increase the state hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 in two steps starting this June.  When fully implemented in mid-2015, the $1 hike will result in an increase of 13.8 percent.

Delaware’s minimum wage was last raised nearly five years ago (July 2009) as the result of a federal mandate.

Before deciding to support Senate Bill 6, I researched the issue and called the owners of more than 50 businesses in the district.  Only three of those businessmen and women employed workers making the minimum wage and only one opposed the rate hike.

Unlike many of the other 23 House members who voted in favor of the bill, I do not believe it will substantially help our state’s working poor. As state Rep. Ruth Briggs King noted during the debate: “Over one-half of minimum wage earners are between the ages of 16 and 24 with a family income of $59,500; and of the adults over the age of 25, 75 percent live above the poverty line and have family incomes exceeding $42,000."

Ultimately, I voted for the measure because the majority of my constituents who expressed a position on the legislation favored its passage.

When I first ran for office in 2012, I told people living in the 20th Representative District that my votes in the General Assembly would reflect their opinions, not my own. As I head into the second year of working on behalf of my neighbors, I continue to uphold that pledge.

Rep. Steve Smyk



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