How Did A $15 Minimum Wage Bill Get Out Of A Majority-GOP Committee?

Answer: Because the nominally GOP leadership of the Louisiana Senate allowed a leftist Democrat with a 19 percent rating from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry scorecard to chair the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee while that leftist Democrat was running for Congress.

What happened yesterday was a predictable effect of that.

A Senate committee advanced a proposal Wednesday to raise Louisiana’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee also moved instruments that will extend the suspension of state laws that trigger higher taxes on employers and lower worker benefits when the unemployment trust fund’s balance is low.

Senate Bill 49 also calls for the minimum wage to be increased each year by the percentage increase in the federal government’s Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.

Louisiana doesn’t have a state minimum, so the federal wage floor of $7.25 an hour applies. Sen. Troy Carter, the New Orleans Democrat who authored the bill, said it would help many residents climb out of poverty and benefit the economy by giving low-wage workers more money to spend.

“Working families deserve better,” Carter said.

Twenty-nine states have a higher wage floor than the federal minimum, according to information presented Wednesday.

The minimum wage has lost 20% of its purchasing power through inflation since it was last raised, said Jan Moller with the Louisiana Budget Project. If the minimum wage since 1968 had kept up with productivity, it would be more than $22 now, he said. Arkansas, which recently raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour, had an unemployment rate of 4.4% in March, three percentage points lower than Louisiana’s, he said.

If you force businesses to pay higher wages, rather than letting the market dictate wages, however, companies will hire fewer people, business advocates said. The change also could encourage employers to replace workers with technology and lead to higher prices for consumers, meaning the benefit to low-wage workers would be temporary, said Jim Patterson with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

“This does not particularly help the people it’s intended to help,” Patterson said, adding he believed the Earned Income Tax Credit was a better tool to help low-income workers.

Dawn Starns McVea, Louisiana state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said 92% of her members oppose the change.

The committee advanced the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote.

Senate Labor is chaired by Troy Carter. For some reason, the old primitive practice in the Louisiana Senate of giving committee chairmanships to people of both parties is still in vogue despite there being 27 Republicans out of the 39 Senate members. But the committee has a 4-3 GOP majority.

But Carter waited until two of the four Republicans, Stewart Cathey and Glen Womack, had prior commitments and couldn’t make yesterday’s Labor committee meeting, and then he ran his bill when Senate Labor had, for a time, a Democrat majority.

Which allowed Carter to pump this press release out yesterday…

Troy Carter gets it done

Yesterday, for the first time in the history of Louisiana, Senator Troy Carter passed out of committee a $15 per hour minimum wage tied to the consumer price index.

In response to the committee vote, Troy said: “I am proud to have cleared this first step in the process of ensuring a living wage for all of the hard working men and women of Louisiana in a manner that ensures politics will never again play a role in giving working people a raise again. I look forward not only to bringing this to Louisiana, but doing the same nationally when I am in Congress. My ability to work well with all of my colleagues was important yesterday, and will be important in finally bringing this change to the entire country.”

VIDEO: Senator Troy Carter presents his bill to raise the minimum wage

Troy Carter is running with the support of the Louisiana Democratic Party, former Congressman Cedric Richmond, and civil rights leader Jim Clyburn. He’ll show up for us in Congress to build consensus to deliver a real economic recovery for Louisiana, marijuana legalization, national criminal justice reform, and a living wage of $15/hr.

He’s telling an unmitigated, provable lie here – that he’s able to “work well with all of my colleagues.” That’s complete bullshit – the Republicans who were there voted against his bill; the only reason it got out was that he ran it when a Republican-majority committee happened to be a Democrat-majority committee.

Now – Cathey and Womack aren’t screaming about it, because there is a feeling that it isn’t the end of the world if Troy Carter is able to leverage dishonest garbage like this to win that congressional election tomorrow. Karen Carter Peterson is roundly hated by just about everyone at the State Capitol, and not just the Republicans.

And it isn’t like we’re rooting for KCP. KCP, we’ve noted time and again, is dangerously insane.

But Troy Carter, so you’ll know, is every bit as dishonest, shady and Marxist as KCP is.

Senate President Page Cortez, who’s responsible for giving Carter the chairmanship of the Senate Labor Committee, will almost certainly make sure this bill never gets a floor vote in the Senate. It’s a favor to Carter for him not to do so, though Carter probably doesn’t care – either he’ll win that congressional race tomorrow, in which case he’s gone from the Louisiana Senate and a $15 minimum wage in Louisiana is somebody else’s fight, or he loses it, and he knew it was never going to pass anyway.

Which is another reason Carter is blatantly dishonest here. He’s bragging about getting a bill out of committee everyone knows isn’t going to become law. This is a way to shine on his constituents without actually doing anything for them, and it doesn’t even further a discussion. There might be enough weak Republicans out there that Carter could pass something that bumps the minimum wage up a dollar or two and then ties it to the CPI. That would be a real fight he might actually be able to win, particularly if he was willing to trade something the GOP or the business trade groups want for it.

But he doesn’t care about that. He wanted that press release. And he got it on the basis of lies.

The question is whether Cortez is OK with running that kind of operation in the Louisiana Senate.

Maybe he is. It seems like he is.

So are you OK with it? Does this meet your standards as a voter? Or are you disgusted at the blatant dishonesty here?

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