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Biden plan would more than double minimum wage in Louisiana



LOUISIANA – Alexandria business owner Freddie Price has been closely watching Washington D.C. as of late. He has been relying on federal aid to prevent him from having to shut down his IT company, Dempsey Business Systems of Louisiana, and layoff his four employees.

“It has been nerve racking in the sense that each day we try to do the best we can to keep our business going,” said Price.

Price kept a close eye on President-Elect Joe Biden’s announcement of a $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package on Thursday night. So, when Biden announced he wants to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, it caught his attention.

“Probably will work but all small business owners really have to take a good look at that because we don’t want to be in a position where we can’t continue to operate and pay the bills,” said Price.

Biden’s plan would more than double the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour, the first increase since 2009. Currently Louisiana doesn’t have a state minimum wage, so the state uses the federal minimum. Recently, Gov. John Bel Edwards pushed to raise the state’s minimum wage to $9, but the majority Republican legislature rejected it.

“I’m not in support of that,” said State Rep. Mike Johnson. “Not because I’m not sympathetic to people that work hourly rates. The reality of it is I think it’s going to have detrimental effect on small business.”

However, for State Rep. Johnson – he has no say. If Congress passes it, Louisiana along with the rest of the country will have to raise it. Nonetheless, it will be a tough sale for Republicans in Congress like it was for Louisiana’s majority Republican state legislature.

“They are either going to have to go up on prices which is difficult with the consumer environment right now,” said State Rep. Johnson. “They are going to have to lay off some of their employees, or they are going to have to cut hours. None of those are a benefit to the people the president says he is trying to help.”

But with Biden starting his administration with a slim majority in the House and Senate–the president-elect is pushing forward with the plan.

“But I think it’s in the right direction for sure,” said Price. “We need to have our employees have a livable wage.”