Minimum wage increases go into effect today in 24 states, but Louisiana is not one of them and remains one of a handful who’ve kept the federal minimum of 7.25 an hour.

Louisiana Budget Project Director Executive Director Jan Moller says Legislative hostility to raising the wage runs counter to public opinion on the issue.

“Every single poll that has ever been done over the last decade shows overwhelming support, not just among Democrats, but among every single demographic group that you can measure,” says Moller.

81% of respondents in the 2019 Louisiana Survey supported a raise to 8.50 an hour, and 59% backed an increase to 15 dollars an hour.

Most of the rest of the country has embraced increases, including our neighbors in Arkansas. The new more heavily conservative Legislature appears unlikely to support any raises, but Moller is optimistic.

“I don’t want to predict what this new group of legislators are going to do, I have heard that they are more conservative maybe but they are also brand new and hopefully they are going to take a fresh look at this issue,” says Moller.

An effort to raise the minimum to nine dollars an hour last year died on the Senate floor. An effort to allow local governments to raise the minimum wage was also killed in a House committee.

The Governor renewed his call to raise the minimum to nine dollars an hour during his reelection night speech. Moller says it would be a start, but still below an adequate living wage for a full-time worker.

“A nine dollar minimum wage would be a good start, but it certainly is not enough. It should go to at least ten or 12 dollars and hour, I’d like to see it go to 15,” says Moller.

State business lobbying groups such as LABI and NFIB say an increase in the minimum wage would hurt many company’s bottom lines, and kill jobs.