Over the past 30 years, the rich have been getting richer while the poor have been getting poorer. Since the start of the Great Recession, this trend has further accelerated across the nation and in Virginia. Between 2007 and 2012, the highest income earners saw their wages increase by 10 percent while the wages of the lowest income earners dropped by 8 percent. By 2012, the Commonwealth posted the largest gap ever between the richest and poorest Virginians. People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to afford to live with dignity and raise a family securely. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years would help close the wage gap. In Virginia, six in ten minimum wage workers are women and many are raising families. Increasing the minimum wage would give a boost to struggling families, lifting them out of poverty.
Raising the wage does not hurt business and many larger businesses (Costco, Gap, IKEA and Whole Foods Market) are already offering higher wages to better compete for a quality workforce. Businesses can be more efficient when their employees are more dedicated and less likely to quit, as they would be when paid a higher wage.
A higher minimum wage helps keep families out of poverty and by extension it helps reduce government spending on programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that provide food assistance for low-income families. Increasing the wage, rewarding work, and decreasing need for assistance programs is a true win-win for Virginia.
RESOURCE: Download our Minimum Wage 1-page policy brief and talking points!