Poverty should be one of the top concerns for any elected leader, it has a negative effect on almost everything we as society entrust our government to do, but it seems that those in the Republican Party find it is more politically viable to fight a war on the people in poverty than it is to fight a war to end poverty in this country.
One of the biggest problems in Alabama is poverty. Study after study shows that states that have a high poverty rate have lower test scores in education, while having higher rates of drug use and crime. Unfortunately, this is one of the many issues that the Republican Party refuses to address; instead, they support policies that conflict and make the problem worse.
You cannot be against a raise in the minimum wage and for cutting government assistance, and still say that you are worried about the people living in poverty.
The two are in direct conflict.
If you do not insure that people are being paid a living wage then you are going to have people who rely on government assistance. It is that simple.
In Alabama, 45% of single parent families are living in poverty, there are 392,000 children receiving food stamps and 95,636 Alabama households are receiving federal rental assistance. (Source)
Raising the minimum wage would be a positive step in reducing poverty and the humiliation of living in poverty, but the Alabama Republican Party and the Business Council of Alabama have said that raising the minimum wage would affect the state’s ability to attract business.
Should we really be worrying about recruiting jobs that pay minimum wage?
Nearly one-third (33.1%) of all Alabama jobs are considered low wage jobs, which is 11% higher than the national average of 22 percent. While these low wage jobs are primarily responsible for Alabama’s low unemployment rate, they are also responsible for the high rates of government assistance in the state.
I think we have enough low paying jobs in this state. We should be focusing on recruiting jobs that do not require the people who fill those jobs to file for public assistance.
This year, Representative Darrio Melton, D- Selma, has filed HB-279, which is an amendment to the Alabama Constitution establishing a state minimum wage of $9.80. It would also establish a cost of living increase to the minimum wage and require that tipped employees be paid a minimum hourly wage equal to 30% of the minimum wage.
I urge you to join Ron Crumpton 2014 in supporting Representative Melton’s amendment to raise the minimum wage to $9.80 per hour by signing the following petition to Governor Bentley, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and the Business Council of Alabama.
It is time that we end the war on the people in poverty and devote our efforts to ending poverty in Alabama.
Raise the Minimum Wage to $9.80
Read the petition