Minimum wage; increases to $10 per hour effective July 1, 2020, etc. (SB73)

Introduced By

Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) with support from co-patron Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Minimum wage. Increases the minimum wage from its current federally mandated level of $7.25 per hour to $10.00 per hour effective July 1, 2020; to $13.00 per hour effective July 1, 2021; and to $15.00 per hour effective July 1, 2022, unless a higher minimum wage is required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The measure also provides that the Virginia minimum wage applies to persons whose employment is covered by the FLSA and to public employees. Read the Bill »


01/27/2020: Incorporated into Another Bill


11/23/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20101279D
11/23/2019Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
01/27/2020Impact statement from DPB (SB73)
01/27/2020Incorporated by Commerce and Labor (SB7-Saslaw) (14-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)


Fred Woehrle writes:

This bill would eventually increase the minimum wage all the way up to $15, not just $10. That is grossly excessive, far too high for a state like Virginia. It would would result in major job losses and consumer price increases, including in the Roanoke Area.

In a recent poll, 74 percent of economists opposed a $15 minimum wage. That included not just GOP economists but also a great many independent and Democratic economists -- only 12 percent of the economists in that poll were Republicans, notes Ryan Young. In another poll, 72% of economists opposed a $15 minimum wage. That's because doubling the minimum wage would result in a lot of unemployment and consumer price increases. Maryland is predicted to lose 99,000 jobs from the $15 minimum wage it is gradually phasing in.

Alan Krueger, former chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, called a $15 minimum wage "a risk not worth taking," one that would "put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences." Clinton administration economist Harry Holzer said a $15 minimum wage would be "extremely risky," particularly for young and less-educated workers who need to gain work experience.

There are entire counties in Virginia where the median wage is below $15 per hour -- yet people there live middle-class lives and mostly own their own homes. Less than $15 is a "living wage" there. These areas could not possibly comply with a $15 minimum wage without large job losses, and consumer price increases, as the Jefferson Policy Journal recently noted in "Big Minimum Wage Increase Bad for Workers." (The entire Roanoke MSA has a median hourly wage of only $16.76, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it is lower than $15 in many outlying counties).

These areas can't handle a huge minimum wage increase. That's because employer profit margins are small -- grocery stores have profit margins of only 1-3%, and corporations usually have a profit margin in the single digits.

When the minimum wage rises, many people lose their earned-income tax credits. Workers who lose their job after a minimum wage increase lose their tax credits because they only go to people who work. Many people who keep their jobs also lose their earned-income tax credits, because the credits are phased out as income rises. So while the employer pays the full cost of the minimum wage increase, workers do not reap the full benefit. The cost of the minimum wage increase leaves the small business owner with less money to spend on his own family, and less money to reinvest in the business to create jobs. Corporations socked with a minimum wage increase have less money to pay out to shareholders, who then spend less money in the economy. Companies also have less money to reinvest in the business.

So increasing the minimum wage actually results in less economic activity, by cutting combined spending y employees, investors, and business owners in a community.

Derek S., tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

While I do think that $15/hr in the state of Virginia is perhaps too much, I'll always vote to increase it.

A living wage in VA is actually around $12 last I checked. But in 5 years things could change to where $15 could be feasible.

We'll make it work one way or another.

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