Talking Turkey About Minimum Wage
Raising the minimum wage has been a consistent policy goal for Gov. John Bel Edwards. As he says, "Seven dollars and a quarter is not a meaningful wage."
And Jeannie Donovan with the Louisiana Budget Project says the federal $7.25 per-hour minimum is keeping Louisiana Residents in poverty.
"Working full time, 40 hours-a-week, they would have to make around $11.66 per-hour to bring a family of four above the poverty line. And we know that about one in three Louisiana workers falls below that wage," says Donovan.
But Budget Project Director Jan Moller adds that not enough state lawmakers get it: "Minimum wage is a hard lift at the legislature," he says. “There are just some people up there who don’t see the need."
So let's talk turkey by comparing the reality of minimum-wage work to the cost of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast.
"Each year, the Louisiana Farm Bureau conducts an informal survey of 16 items commonly used in Thanksgiving meals," reports Farm Bureau's Neil Melancon. "This year’s survey found the total cost of those 16 items at $43.27."
Now take a household of four — two kids, with two adults, each working full-time at minimum wage. Sammy Guillory with the Department of Children and Family Services says they are eligible for SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps.
"A family of four with two adults working full-time, minimum wage, 40 hours a week — with $800-a-month rent — would receive approximately $155 in SNAP benefits for the month," Guillory calculates.
Tomorrow's dinner would use up 28 percent of that.
If their rent was less — say $500 a month — "The benefit amount would be $87," Guillory says.
And tomorrow's feast will cost half of it.