US minimum wage in West Virginia in 2023
The current minimum wage in the United States has been stagnant at the national rate of $7.25 for the past decade. This is inadequate for most workers to make a livable wage and support their families, which has led to agitation among citizens and legislators alike who believe that the rate should be increased. In 2021, West Virginia proposed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $8.75 by 2023, while the United States Congress has proposed the Raise the Wage Act to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15.00 by 2025. The future of the minimum wage rate in West Virginia in 2023 is uncertain, as the outcome of the proposals could depend heavily on the response to the Raise the Wage Act.
West Virginia legislators have long advocated for a higher minimum wage, citing the low cost of living in the state as a major contributing factor for its low wages at present. For example, the state has no income tax and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Additionally, West Virginia’s rural areas are often overlooked by larger employers, leaving those living in these parts of the state to seek jobs that often don’t pay above the minimum wage. In light of this, the proposed increase in minimum wage does not appear to be an extreme hypothetical; it is instead a response to the demographic, economic, and social conditions in the state.
The Raise the Wage Act, a bipartisan bill, was proposed by the United States Congress in 2019 to gradually raise the minimum wage across the nation to $15.00 by 2025. The bill faced energetic opposition from business lobby groups and received support primarily from labor and progressive groups. The state of West Virginia is in a peculiar position in relation to this proposal, as its decision to increase the minimum wage before the act goes into effect is subject to the attitude of both congressional lawmakers and the public.
Should the Raise the Wage Act be passed, the minimum wage rate in West Virginia in 2023 would likely be set at $11.22. This would not be the full $15.00 proposed by the Act, yet it is considerably higher than the current minimum wage rate in West Virginia and would be a major boon for workers in the state. This comes with the caveat that if the act is not passed, West Virginia would still likely increase their current minimum wage to $8.75 as proposed by state legislators.
In conclusion, it can be said that the outcome of the proposed legislation regarding West Virginia’s minimum wage in 2023 is uncertain. Much of it depends on the passage of the Raise the Wage Act, as well as both public and congressional attitudes to the proposed legislation. It is clear, however, that the minimum wage rate in West Virginia is in need of an increase, as the current rate is too low to support the majority of state residents.