Oklahoma Bans Its Cities From Hiking Minimum Wage

City-level initiatives would cost jobs, Gov. Mary Fallin says

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 16, 2014 3:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – An initiative to raise the minimum wage in Oklahoma City has been thwarted by a new law banning cities in the state from setting their own minimum wages or requirements for vacation days. A petition being circulated in the city called for raising the local minimum wage to $10.10—the level President Obama is pushing—from the current federal requirement of $7.25, the Oklahoman reports. The coalition behind the petition says it is considering a constitutional challenge to the new law.

Gov. Mary Fallin, who signed the bill into law, rejected the argument that allowing cities to raise the minimum wage would bring people out of poverty, saying having different minimum wages across the state could scare off businesses and a higher minimum wage would cost jobs. "Most minimum wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry-level jobs," she said. "Many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families." Numerous studies, however, have found this to be untrue, Al Jazeera notes. A recent Economic Policy Institute report found that almost 90% of minimum wage workers are over 20, a quarter have children to support, and more than half work full time.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin speaks during her fourth State of the State address in Oklahoma City earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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