Oklahoma's Fallin Punishes Working People, Makes GOP
The headline from the Tulsa World this afternoon says it all: “Gov. Fallin signs bill curbing minimum-wage increases in Oklahoma.”
Fallin’s hostility toward the working people of her state comes as no surprise – it’s core to the character of all of this year’s Republican candidates for governor.
In right-wing harmony with Fallin’s action, Illinois billionaire Bruce Rauner has said his state’s minimum wage should be cut by a dollar an hour so that he and his corporate pals can continue raking in massive profits. Florida Governor Rick Scott described how the idea of raising the minimum wage makes him “cringe.” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker mocked it as “political grandstanding.” Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said it isn’t a burning issue as Connecticut Republican Tom Foley “distanced himself” from a proposal to raise the wage in his state. And Maine Governor Paul LePage, RGA Chair Chris Christie, and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez have all vetoed minimum wage hikes.
Democratic governors believe that in order to strengthen the middle class, we must raise wages and expand economic opportunity. Republican governors and their candidates care more about enriching the wealthiest and well-connected.
Here’s the background on how Republican candidates for governor believe that it’s just fine for Americans to work 40 hours a week and live in poverty:
Minimum Wage Hike Made Rick Scott “Cringe.” Tampa Bay Times reporter Steve Bousquet noted in a column, “as a Democratic candidate for governor, Crist enthusiastically supports a higher minimum wage… Two Democratic state lawmakers from Miami have filed bills to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in Florida to help working families. A spokesman for Scott said the idea made the governor ‘cringe.’” [Steve Bousquet column, Tampa Bay Times, 1/13/14]
Bruce Rauner Initially Said He Favored Cutting Minimum Wage; Tried To Backtrack Even As Video Surfaced Of Him Saying He Was “Adamantly, Adamantly” Against An Increase. “First, Bruce Rauner seemed to say he favored cutting the state’s $8.25-an-hour minimum wage. Then, he retreated from those ‘flippant’ remarks made in December and said this week he favors increasing pay for Illinois’ poorest workers to as much as $10 an hour. On Thursday came yet another twist in the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s confusing and evolving stance on a vital issue affecting 1.1 million Illinois workers: a September video in which Rauner said he ‘adamantly, adamantly’ opposes raising the minimum wage. Got all that?” [Dave McKinney, Voices, Sun-Times, 1/9/14]
Foley “Distanced Himself” From CT Minimum Wage Measure; “Seemed Unaware” Bill Had Advanced Through Legislature. Connecticut GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley “distanced himself Friday from the governor’s proposal to raise the $8.70 state minimum to $10.10 by January 2017… ‘I think we need to be careful about having a minimum wage in Connecticut that’s higher than other states, because that drives jobs out of the state,’ Foley said. Foley suggested there was no serious plan to raise the state minimum, saying, ‘I don’t think anybody’s proposing that.’ He seemed unaware that a state legislative committee had approved and sent a $10.10 minimum wage bill to the Senate floor on Tuesday, the day before Obama’s visit here promoting a higher federal minimum.” [CT Mirror, 3/7/14]
Walker Called Raising Minimum Wage “Political Grandstanding.” The Associated Press reported, “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says raising the minimum wage is a ‘political grandstanding stunt’ that will kill jobs… Walker said raising the minimum wage will lead to job losses and opportunities for young people to find entry-level positions.” [Associated Press, 1/23/14]
Gov. Rick Snyder’s Office Said Minimum Wage Increase Wasn’t “A Burning Issue.” “A spokesman for Snyder’s office called the proposed change a ‘significant hike’ that could ‘pose real challenges.’ […] ‘It hasn’t been a burning issue because Michigan is already above the federal minimum,’ said Snyder spokesperson Dave Murray in a statement.” [MLive, 11/18/13]
Corbett signals he won’t push to hike minimum wage. Gov. Tom Corbett is signaling that he won’t support an increase in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, saying he’s worried about the impact on the state’s economy. Corbett told the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre on Friday that he has no plans to encourage lawmakers to increase Pennsylvania’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage. Corbett said the economy’s starting to come back from the recession and he’s worried about changing the economic dynamic. [Associated Press, 12/7/13]
LePage Vetoed Minimum Wage Hike. In 2013 LePage vetoed a bill that “would incrementally increase the minimum wage from the current $7.50 per hour to $9 an hour by 2015, followed by annual increases tied to inflation… LePage wrote in his veto letter that Maine should focus on creating better jobs rather than improving its lowest-paying jobs.” [Bangor Daily News, 7/8/13]
Christie Vetoed Minimum Wage Increase. “Gov. Chris Christie rejected a bill today to raise the minimum wage and countered with a proposal of his own, virtually ensuring Democrats will ask voters in November whether they favor a $1-an-hour increase. Christie said the Democrats’ bill, which would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 and tied future increases to the rate of inflation, would have hurt the state’s economy.” [Star-Ledger, 1/28/13]
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez Vetoed Minimum Wage Increase. “Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed a proposal by the Democratic-controlled Legislature that would have increased New Mexico’s minimum wage to the fourth highest in the nation. Martinez followed through on an earlier threat and rejected the measure on Friday that would have boosted the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour from $7.50. The governor said the proposed increase would have cost the state jobs.” [Associated Press, 3/29/13]