Worker's Rights: A Living WageAs Governor, I will demand that the SC General Assembly pass a minimum wage law.
Our state currently uses the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The minimum wage for all workers should be raised immediately for all workers to at least fifteen dollars an hour. We need to establish a legal mechanism that ties wages to the cost of living, because a living wage is just what it says... It let's people live.
Based on the cost of living in South Carolina, the MIT Living Wage Calculator at (livingwage.mit.edu/states/45) calculates the actual cost of living in South Carolina using a market-based approach that draws upon geographically specific expenditure data related to a family's likely minimum food, childcare, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other costs.
For a single adult in South Carolina who works 40 hours a week and has no children, a living wage is $14.58 per hour. With one child, it is $29.81 per hour. Even for an adult couple who are both working full time, if they have one child the living wage is $16.33 per hour, and with two children it climbs to $19.76 per hour.
Our society has a huge wage gap based on race, and since 2000 that gap has grown even wider.
Compared to the average hourly wages of white men with the same education, experience, metro status, and region of residence, black men make 22.0 percent less, and black women make 34.2 percent less. (Source: Black-White Wage Gaps Expand with Rising Wage Inequality) This must change, and increasing the minimum wage for ALL South Carolinians will help close the gap. It will also lift people out of poverty, reducing the need for public assistance programs that tax payers now fund.
I will oppose tax breaks for any business in South Carolina that does not pay a living wage and create full time jobs with employer funded health insurance. It is important that these incentives to businesses to create jobs here in our state be used to create decent jobs.
I will also fight for actual annual cost of living raises for all state employees.