On Thursday, minimum wage increases took effect in twenty states across the nation, while in Louisiana the minimum wage remained at $7.25. This year, Governor John Bel Edwards wants to try once again to change that.
“A modest but meaningful increase to $8.50 over a couple of years would be the right thing to do,” Edwards said.
The minimum wage in Louisiana has remained consistent with the federal minimum since 2009. Any attempts to raise the number above that level has faced strong resistance from businesses and other groups who say that raising it would hurt Louisiana businesses.
Edwards is also concerned about the gender wage gap in Louisiana, which is the largest in the country. White women in Louisiana earn 66-cents to the dollar compared to men performing in the same job, while women of color earn 50 cents to the dollar.
“You talk about unfair, we have the biggest disparity in the country in what we pay women, compared to what we pay men when they are similarly qualified doing the same work,” said Edwards. “So we are going to keep fighting for it, but I’m very disappointed to stand here at the end of my third year that we haven’t been able to get that done.”
Closing the gender pay gap and raising the minimum wage wee two campaign promises made by Edwards that he has yet to fulfill.