COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - Lawmakers are considering two bills that could raise minimum wage in South Carolina for the first time in more than a decade.
Currently, minimum wage in South Carolina is $7.25, which is also the federal minimum wage.
Many people who live in Charleston said they would support an increase in minimum wage.
“When you do an honest day’s work, you should get an honest day’s pay,” Charleston resident Charlie Roper said. “And I think it should go up.”
And others agreed, saying the current minimum wage does not provide enough for families.
“You can’t own a home and pay rent and pay the mortgage and buy food,” Charleston resident Sammy Convertino said. “And if they have kids in school, forget it.”
The first bill, H.3217, would gradually raise minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over three years starting Jan. 1, 2020.
The other bill, H.2295, would bring the minimum wage to $12 per hour over three years.
“I mean, we see everywhere that people are paying at that rate already," Boxcar Betty’s owner Roth Scott said. “We’re paying $10 to $12 just starting out for cashiers and cooks."
Scott said passing a minimum wage increase seems logical to him and it wouldn’t impact how Boxcar Betty’s does business.
But some business owners said raising minimum wage could mean they can’t have as many employees. It also might mean they have to raise their prices to adjust.
But Scott says the benefits of paying workers a higher minimum wage would far outweigh the drawbacks.
“It makes them more productive workers, it makes them, like I said, more engaged in the process," Scott said. "So, you know, it’s only a benefit to your business if you can afford to pay that amount of money.”
Both bills state the minimum wage would continue to rise each year based on a calculation done by the state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
Minimum wage has not been raised in South Carolina since 2008.