Legislative Roundup: Minimum Wage Bill Would Raise Hourly Rate by $2

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Mar. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

Butch Wilkins

Recent headlines notwithstanding, guns and abortion aren’t the only topics being debated at the 89th General Assembly.

This week, business owners will be watching a bill that would raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.25.

If passed, House Bill 1402 by Rep. Butch Wilkins, D-Bono, would raise the minimum wage beginning Oct. 1 of this year. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

Wilkins’ proposal also would effectively lower the hourly rate for student employees from $5.52 to $5.36.

The bill has been given special order status and is scheduled to be heard in the House Public Health, Welfare & Labor Committee on Tuesday morning.

No other legislators have signed on to co-sponsor, and not surprisingly, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce opposes the measure.

Tax Cuts for Manufacturers

Manufacturers likely will be rooting for House Bill 1218, which finally could see its way onto the House Revenue agenda this week after adding technical corrections and co-sponsors.

The bill — by Sen. Bill Sample, R-Hot Springs, and Rep. Lane Jean, R-Magnolia — would exempt manufacturers and “independent power producers” from sales tax in 2014 and reduce the sales tax paid on utilities by from 2.625 percent to 1 percent in 2013.

It also would continue a phased reduction of the excise tax paid on natural gas used in the production of electricity.

More Guns, Abortion

Of course, bills related to guns and abortion generated some action last week. Gov. Mike Beebe publicly criticized Lt. Gov. Mark Darr for signing a bill to make secret the names of those 130,000 or so Arkansans who have concealed carry permits.

 

 

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