This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State Senator George Young (D-OKC) has filed legislation to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.50 an hour.

Senate Bill 1165 would require employers to pay a minimum of $10.50 per hour, or match the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.

 “Why can’t we now look at the citizens of Oklahoma, those who are struggling, those who are trying to survive, those who are working every day, trying to help make Oklahoma a great state? Let’s help them,” Young said.
While many advocates have pushed for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, Young says $10.50 is a good starting point. If the bill is passed, he’d like to see the amount raised each year until it hits $15 an hour.
Minimum wage worker Tony James says a wage hike would be a huge help for him.

“I never made enough money to buy a new car, but it’d be good if the minimum wage was raised and stuff,” he said. “If a person had the opportunity to have some money, they would do more things, there would probably be less crime and stuff. Why would I want to commit a crime when I could make a whole lot of money?”

Thirty-one states already have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum of $7.25.

“We’re optimistic because Arkansas has raised theirs and all the others states except for Texas have raised their minimum wage around Oklahoma, so I think it’s about time Oklahoma look at raising it,” Jimmy Curry, president of the Oklahoma AFL-CIO, said.
He says a wage hike would pump money back into the economy.
“You take somebody that’s working at minimum wage, they don’t save money, they spend it all and it all goes back into the economy,” he said.
Those at the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs say a wage hike could hurt businesses.

“Raising the minimum wage tends to be an economic inhibitor,” Dave Bond, VP for advocacy at the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs, said. “Businesses tend to respond either by letting people go, they respond by outsourcing stuff, they respond by automation, they respond by doing things other than employing more people.”