Sunday, February 28, 2016

Alabama Opposes Birmingham’s Raise in Minimum Wage

Earlier this month, Birmingham became the first city southern city to approve a local minimum wage. Their approved local minimum wage is $10.10, more than the national minimum wage of $7.25. However, this decision has caused more tension than excitement.

In response to Birmingham’s minimum wage increase, the Alabama Legislature met to discuss how to oppose this raise. The state is now planning to pass a bill that would prevent cities from setting their own minimum wage.

The intended purpose of Alabama’s bill is to keep the minimum wage consistent throughout the state, but some believe it is because the state doesn’t really care about its citizens.

Birmingham’s predominantly liberal inhabitants are still trying to fight to pass their $10.10 minimum wage, but some feel that the city will ultimately lose and be restricted by the state’s conservative Legislature.

Do you think states have the power to control a city’s minimum wage?
Should the federal government intervene in this dispute?



Lea Tan said...

I think that states, and even cities, should have the right to decide on their own minimum wage. Every part of the country is a little bit different; some places, like the Bay Area and SF, have a higher cost of living, so it would make sense if these places had higher minimum wages. For example, it seems rational that San Francisco's minimum wage is now $12.25 (and is supposed to be raised to $15 by 2018) as opposed to the $7.25 national average because of the expensive rent, high taxes, and costly transportation, among other things. According to a site that gives each city a cost of living index (I'll link it below), Birmingham has an index of 85, which is 15% lower than the national average. To put it to scale, San Mateo's cost of living index is 182; that makes Birmingham's 54% lower than San Mateo's index. Monetarily, this means that you need to make around $23,187 per year in Birmingham compared to $50,000 per year in San Mateo to maintain the same standard of living. Therefore, it doesn't seem completely necessary to raise Birmingham's minimum wage if you compare it to other cities, but I do believe that $7.25 is too low for any city no matter their cost of living, and that all minimum wages should be raised at least a little.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lea's statements. Birmingham should be able to set its own minimum wage as long as it is higher that the national minimum wage. Like Lea said, the different parts of Alabama could require a different income amount to just get by in life. Since Birmingham is a bigger city, chances are that the living costs are higher than in the more rural areas of the state. I do think that states have the power to control a city's minimum wage, but they should not. The federal government should intervene in this dispute because it infringes on a personal's constitutional right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" since money is vital to all three aspects.