INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Republicans on Tuesday rejected a proposal from State Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Crown Point) that would have increased the minimum wage for Hoosier workers and investigated ways to provide greater pay equity between working men and women in our state.
VanDenburgh attempted to amend her plan into House Bill 1126, only to have it rejected by the majority.
Her proposal contained two provisions:
– Increasing Indiana’s minimum wage by $1 to $8.25 per hour.
– Creating a commission to study ways to cure a wage equity gap that finds Hoosier working women earning only 73 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
“Job creation may be the focal point of our state’s economic development efforts, but where Indiana has truly fallen behind is in improving household incomes for Hoosiers,” VanDenburgh said.
“Over the past decade, those household incomes have declined by a greater percentage than 47 other states,” she continued. “The income of the average Hoosier is more than 10 percent lower than his or her fellow Americans.
“Obviously, the first place to start is by boosting their earning power, and the way to achieve that is by increasing our state’s minimum wage,” VanDenburgh said. “In his State of the State address earlier this week, Governor Pence even mentioned Indiana’s poor standing in personal per capita income. Now is the time to show that we understand the plight facing too many Hoosiers, and we are willing to act now.”
VanDenburgh noted that the study of the pay disparity between working men and women is particularly acute since the poverty rate for women and girls in Indiana is 16.8 percent.
“For all of the talk about the glowing efforts of Indiana’s job ‘successes,’ the dirty little secret is that workers here simply are not making enough to keep up with the rising costs of health care, education and just keeping their families’ heads afloat,” VanDenburgh said.
“Job creation is simply not enough,” she continued. “We must make sure the people who get those jobs have the chance to earn a decent living. That is why we need these kinds of changes in state law.
“I am extremely disappointed that the House majority chose to turn its back on Hoosier workers and their families, but I vow that we have not seen the last of our efforts this legislative session to help our struggling middle class,” VanDenburgh concluded.