OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Minimum wage is being increased this year in 26 states across the country, but not in Oklahoma.

The Sooner State has not seen an increase to its minimum wage since 2008.

States increasing in 2023 in blue.

When the wage was increased, it went from $6.55 to the federal minimum of $7.25.

State Senator Mary Boren, a Democrat from Norman, filed a bill last year which would increase the lowest hourly wage to $15 by the year 2027.

“If you do incremental changes, then the market can adjust and prices can adjust over time and the employer can adjust over time so they can announce things and then they can plan for things and they can do projections,” said Boren, explaining why wage increases can’t happen all-at-once.

For Boren, she doesn’t want to hear any more stories of parents working multiple jobs in order to pay the bills.

“What often is lost in this whole scenario is our children lose out,” said the senator from Norman. “They don’t have a parent there that has got the bandwidth to help with homework.”

Oklahoma is not the only state with a minimum of $7.25.

At least 20 other states use that hourly rate for their minimums.

In our region, Texas and Kansas join Oklahoma with the lowest hourly wages.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission shows that the average hourly worker makes $18 per hour. That number is comprised of all hourly workers in the state, including attorneys, public relations managers, and architects.

Tim O’Connor, President of the AFL-CIO of Central Oklahoma, said that he speaks to low-wage hourly workers on a regular basis.

“You can’t live on 7.25 an hour,” said O’Connor.

Despite some sectors having a wider range of pay, O’Connor said there is an appetite for a hike in the state’s minimum wage.

“I think if you did some polling statewide, it would be overwhelmingly popular to raise the minimum wage here in Oklahoma,” said O’Connor.