Proposals would increase state minimum wage -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Proposals would increase state minimum wage

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One in five children in South Carolina lives in poverty. Now the question remains whether increasing the state's minimum wage will make a difference.

Angela Brannon makes minimum wage and has learned to make do with what she has.

"I live here with my mom, my sisters kids and my kids," she said. "Back to school supplies, I got to split it up between five kids. If I had $100, by the time I'm done I probably have at least $5 to my name."

But some lawmakers say a $7.25 per-hour wage isn't enough to live on.

"I believe very strongly we should raise the minimum wage," said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, an Orangeburg Democrat. "We've got people in this state who are working everyday who can't afford lodging, who can't afford food."

On the other side of the issue, many fear raising the wage will have consequences for the economy.

"Adding a minimum wage increase at this volatile time in the economy will make it less likely people get hired because the cost of doing business," said Sen. Lindsey Graham.

But studies have shown an increase in minimum wage could actually help stoke the economy.

"If you look at the bottom 50-60 percent of the economy and you can find a way to increase their aggregate consumption, you can help businesses as well," said University of South Carolina history professor Dr. Larry Glickman.

"When you put a person in a position where they can pay for their own health care, their own food, they get less and less benefits, which in turn costs the state and federal government less," said state Sen. John Scott, a Richland County Democrat.

Brannon is hoping to find a second job, but she said it's been difficult and people are quick to judge her situation.

"You can say, 'They need to get a better education,' but I have a better education," she said. "I'm a certified medical assistant and it's still hard to get a job. You don't know until you've been in someone's shoes."

Unemployment in South Carolina is currently at 7.5 percent. Two proposals in the State House that seek to increase the minimum wage by $1 to $3 were filed this year.

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