BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers once again have shot down efforts to raise Louisiana's minimum wage, with Republicans aligned in opposition to the pay hike.
The Senate labor committee Thursday considered a measure by Sen. Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans, that would have required businesses working on a project for state government to pay their employees $8.25 an hour, starting next year.
"It represents good public policy," Peterson said.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
Committee members voted 3-1 to reject Peterson's proposal. Opponents said it was unfair to target some businesses and could cost state agencies more money for projects.
Senators then voted 3-1 to kill a bill by Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, that would have created a state minimum wage of $10 an hour.
Dorsey-Colomb said minimum wage earners in Louisiana struggle to survive on a wage that has not been adjusted for inflation.
"We should be embarrassed," she said.
Democrats have filed several bills this session seeking to raise Louisiana's minimum wage, arguing it would lessen poverty in a state with the nation's third highest poverty rate.
But lawmakers have sided with business groups that oppose the effort, arguing it would hurt the economy by causing businesses to cut jobs and raise the cost of goods and services.