S.C. representative says raising minimum wage could result in jobs being cut

Updated: Dec. 30, 2019 at 11:22 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The issue of raising the minimum wage has been debated across the nation for years.

On New Year’s Day, 21 states plan to raise the minimum wage, and in the months to follow, three more states will do the same. The minimum wage will reach of surpass $15 an hour in 32 different places next year.

But South Carolina isn’t one of them and S.C. state Rep. Tim McGinnis said what works for some states doesn’t work for others.

“I think it’s a dangerous precedent to raise the minimum wage too much because then you’re talking about businesses having to raise prices. Some businesses, particularly in the tourism industry, would have to shut down," McGinnis said.

Currently, the minimum wage in South Carolina is $7.25, which was put in place in 2008 by the federal government. So if someone is making $7.25 an hour working 40 hours a week at 52 weeks a year, it comes up to just over $15,000 and that’s before taxes.

The website, livingwage.com, shows a single adult in South Carolina would need to make no less than $11.55 an hour to support a livable lifestyle.

McGinnis said the reality is the minimum wage is there for your summer jobs or jobs for high school and college students.

He said you will be hard-pressed to find an adult making minimum wage.

“If you think about it, very few people are making minimum wage. Those who are making minimum wage aren’t the ones who are depending on that money to live on," McGinnis said.

McGinnins said his knowledge on this topic also comes from his many years as a business owner. He said one concern with the minimum wage going up is that businesses will not be able to afford to keep as many employees on payroll or to do so they would have to raise the cost of goods. This means as a consumer you would be paying more.

“Now if you raise the minimum wage, I see some states that are planning on raising it up to $25 an hour over several years, that’s going to put people out of business. That’s going to mean that the customer is paying a lot more for a service that they aren’t paying very much for right now," McGinnis said.

But WMBF News wanted to hear what you thought, so we posted the story on Facebook and more than 700 viewers commented. Some agreed with McGinnins but some not.

One person wrote: “No one should be allowed to pay their employees $7.25 an hour.”

Another person commented saying: “I don’t think $15 an hour is appropriate for every state including SC but it definitely needs to be raised to around $10.”

Last year, a bill was discussed that would raise the minimum wage in South Carolina to $10 but it didn’t pass.

So far, a bill has not been filed for state lawmakers to discuss it during this year’s legislative session.

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