Manchin Wrong About How Many States Have $7.25 Minimum Wage

By Robert Farley

Posted on March 9, 2021

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Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia wrongly said “very few … if any” states have a minimum wage at the federally mandated $7.25 per hour. In fact, 21 states do.

Raising the federal minimum wage has become an issue in recent weeks as Congress debated the American Rescue Plan.

Photo credit: Getty Images

The Democratic-controlled House included a phased-in $15-an-hour minimum wage in its version of the COVID-19 relief bill. But the nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provision could not be included in the Senate version if Democrats wanted to pass the bill using reconciliation — which requires a simple majority rather than 60 votes.

Sen. Bernie Sanders offered an amendment to the Senate bill to reinsert the $15 federal minimum wage, phased in over four years. The amendment failed in a 58-42 vote. Manchin was one of seven Democrats, plus an independent, who voted against the amendment.

Manchin has said he supports a more modest $11-an-hour federal minimum wage, which would increase each year with inflation.

“Bernie has chosen $15 and, you know what, an awful lot of areas and states have moved to $15,” Manchin said on ABC’s “This Week” on March 7. “A lot of them moved a lot further than $7.25. There’s very few, I would think if any, are at $7.25.”

No states currently have a $15 minimum wage, though New York City and Washington, D.C., do, according to the Department of Labor. Nine states have passed legislation to move toward a $15 minimum wage over the next several years. The most recent was Florida, where voters in November approved Amendment 2, which will phase in a $15-per-hour minimum wage by 2026.

But there are still 21 states where the minimum wage is effectively $7.25 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

According to the Department of Labor, there are seven states that don’t have minimum wages or have minimums below the federal level. In those states, “Employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must pay the current Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.” Those states are: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming.

Fourteen other states have a state minimum of $7.25 an hour, which has been the federal rate since July 24, 2009. Those states are: Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In some states the minimum wage depends on the size of the employer. For example, in Ohio, the minimum wage is $7.25 for employers with annual gross receipts under $305,000. For employers with annual gross receipts above that level, the minimum wage is $8.80.

In West Virginia, Manchin’s home state, the minimum wage is $8.75 an hour.

Manchin’s $11-an-hour minimum wage proposal enjoys wider public support among Democrats and Republicans than $15 an hour. But Manchin overstates the movement to date when he says “very few … if any” states have a minimum wage at the federally mandated $7.25 per hour; 21 states, or 42% of them, do.

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