Oklahoma bars its cities from raising the minimum wage

Thomas Veil

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Feb 14, 2004
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This is a new one on me:

OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR SIGNS LAW BARRING CITIES FROM RAISING MINIMUM WAGE

Cities across Oklahoma have been barred from setting mandatory minimum wage, vacation or sick-day requirements under a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Critics of the bill say it specifically targets Oklahoma City, where an initiative is underway to establish a citywide minimum wage higher than the current federal requirement of $7.25 an hour. Organizers have been gathering signatures on a petition to support raising the city's minimum $10.10 – a rate currently being advocated by President Barack Obama on the national level.

David Slain, the lawyer who wrote the petition, said he is disappointed that the state’s legislature "would vote in such a way to take the right of the people to decide minimum wage." He said the grass-roots effort would continue, with hopes of getting 4,000 signature by the end of April. A total of 80,000 are needed to bring the initiative to a statewide vote.

After the governor signed the law on Monday, her office released a statement that said raising the minimum wage is not an effective way to bring people out of poverty.

"Most minimum-wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry-level jobs," Fallin said. "Many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families."

Yet numerous studies have called this an untrue stereotype. It is a "common myth that very low-wage workers – workers who would see a raise if the minimum wage were increased – are mostly teenagers," according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute.

Nearly 90 percent of workers who would be impacted by an increase in the federal minimum wage are older than 20, while the average age is 35, the institute said. It added that more than a quarter have children to support and more than half work full time.

Supporters of the ban have also argued that it will help local businesses. Oklahoma state Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond, who carried the bill in the House, argued that "an artificial raise in the minimum wage could derail local economies in a matter of months."

Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, the Senate co-author of the measure, said it provides a safer business environment that will allow Oklahoma to remain economically competitive and see continued job growth.

‘Gateway’ wage increases

Many analysts say such pre-emptive measures to block cities from raising minimum wage are often ideologically motivated.

An increase at the local level is a "gateway" toward improved labor standards for the rest of the state, according to Jack Temple, policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.

“Pre-emption bills like Oklahoma’s block cities from passing higher wage standards in order to prevent momentum for passing higher wage standards on a state-wide level,” Temple said.

In some states where cities have passed local minimum wage hikes, states have indeed moved to follow with their own increases. In California for example, San Francisco and San Jose raised the local minimum wage in 2012. The state followed their lead the next year.
A-ha. So this isn't about "safety" (?) and it's certainly not about helping the economy. It's just being mean.
 

VulchR

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Jun 8, 2009
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Makes sense. Republicans are in favour of State's rights, because big government stomps on the little guy. Oh, wait.... :rolleyes:
 

Southern Dad

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May 23, 2010
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This actually makes sense when you think about it. The state has to enforce the minimum wage because the city doesn't have a Department of Labor. It would be very difficult to deal with hundreds of municipalities, each having different minimum wage laws or ordinances.
 

Michael Goff

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Jul 5, 2012
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This, of course, does not stop any company within the state from raising the wages of anyone that they wish to raise.
It just stops local governments from being able to look at what's happening and enact laws that they think might best benefit their constituency.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2010
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This is a new one on me:
Ever since I was a kid, "States Rights" has usually been about the ruling class enforcing its will on the powerless. State government is the ideal level for special interests to do their political magic.
 

Southern Dad

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It just stops local governments from being able to look at what's happening and enact laws that they think might best benefit their constituency.
Municipalities pass ordinances not laws. The problem is that the municipalities would not be the ones that have to enforce these. Think about this from a logistic point of view, there's only a State or Federal Department of Labor. The city doesn't have a Department of Labor. When a person files a complaint that they are being paid incorrectly, who is going to investigate it and make a determination? You could cause a real quagmire that causes this to be impossible to enforce.

Oklahoma has 43 cities with populations over 10,000. Just imagine each one having a different minimum wage. Then toss in the smaller towns, cities and those that work in the rural county areas too.
 

Michael Goff

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Municipalities pass ordinances not laws. The problem is that the municipalities would not be the ones that have to enforce these. Think about this from a logistic point of view, there's only a State or Federal Department of Labor. The city doesn't have a Department of Labor. When a person files a complaint that they are being paid incorrectly, who is going to investigate it and make a determination? You could cause a real quagmire that causes this to be impossible to enforce.

Oklahoma has 43 cities with populations over 10,000. Just imagine each one having a different minimum wage. Then toss in the smaller towns, cities and those that work in the rural county areas too.
I really don't see that being as huge of a problem as you seem to think. The department of labor looks into where they live, checks out what the wage is in that town, and then decides based on that.

If towns had different minimum wages, it'd be a great small experiment. According to conservative logic, those towns would quickly lose out on a lot of job growth. Either that, or maybe they'd grow and they wouldn't be able to say that raising minimum wage lowers employment.
 

Southern Dad

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May 23, 2010
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I really don't see that being as huge of a problem as you seem to think. The department of labor looks into where they live, checks out what the wage is in that town, and then decides based on that.

If towns had different minimum wages, it'd be a great small experiment. According to conservative logic, those towns would quickly lose out on a lot of job growth. Either that, or maybe they'd grow and they wouldn't be able to say that raising minimum wage lowers employment.
If each town had a different minimum wage it would be a nightmare for a Department of Labor case worker. First, you don't determine the minimum wage by where they live but rather by where they work. Just because a business has an address of Lawton, doesn't mean it is in the city limits. Keep in mind that ordinances are only good for the city limits.

What I am saying is that multiple minimum wage rates within a state will cost the state money in enforcement and slow the process down for the case workers at the DOL.
 

rdowns

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Jul 11, 2003
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If each town had a different minimum wage it would be a nightmare for a Department of Labor case worker. First, you don't determine the minimum wage by where they live but rather by where they work. Just because a business has an address of Lawton, doesn't mean it is in the city limits. Keep in mind that ordinances are only good for the city limits.

What I am saying is that multiple minimum wage rates within a state will cost the state money in enforcement and slow the process down for the case workers at the DOL.

Are you seriously telling us that a state Dept. of Labor can't match a minimum wage to the zip code of the job? Perhaps they could ask the Dept. of Taxation for help since they have to manage so many different local sales tax rates.
 

Michael Goff

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If each town had a different minimum wage it would be a nightmare for a Department of Labor case worker. First, you don't determine the minimum wage by where they live but rather by where they work. Just because a business has an address of Lawton, doesn't mean it is in the city limits. Keep in mind that ordinances are only good for the city limits.

What I am saying is that multiple minimum wage rates within a state will cost the state money in enforcement and slow the process down for the case workers at the DOL.
So how does the Dept. of Taxation deal with there being different tax rates in different cities?
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
May 23, 2010
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Are you seriously telling us that a state Dept. of Labor can't match a minimum wage to the zip code of the job? Perhaps they could ask the Dept. of Taxation for help since they have to manage so many different local sales tax rates.
No, you can't. I have a Monroe, GA zip code but live outside of the city limits. If I was to open a business in my home and employee someone, I would not have to follow Monroe's ordinances because I am in the rural county not the city limits. Taxation is the function of the County Tax Commissioner and the Secretary of State.

So how does the Dept. of Taxation deal with there being different tax rates in different cities?
Property tax collection is dealt with by the County Tax Commissioner who each only have a few municipalities to deal with. Sales tax is dealt with by having to pay it where it is due. City taxes to the city, county to the county, state to the state.

While having a hundred minimum wages sounds like a great idea, it would really create a boondoggle across the Department of Labor which would actually hurt the workers. When you add laws or ordinances you have to be able to enforce them. Right now, the left is just seeing this as an attack on raising wages refusing to look at this from the bureaucracy nightmare that this would turn into. You could cripple the State's Department of Labor Office so nothing gets done.

Just imagine if you have a company that is based in the city of Monroe but the actual work is done in other cities? Do they have to pay different rates based upon where that work will be done today? Satellite Offices? Secondary warehouse or production facilities in different municipalities from the parent company.
 

ElectronGuru

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Sep 5, 2013
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Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the Federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers paid by the hour, about 21 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 3 percent of workers age 25 and over.

By major occupational group, the highest proportion of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage was in service occupations, at about 12 percent. About three-fifths of workers earning the minimum wage or less in 2012 were employed in service occupations, mostly in food preparation and serving related jobs.

The industry with the highest proportion of workers with hourly wages at or below the federal minimum wage was leisure and hospitality (about 19 percent). About half of all workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, the vast majority in restaurants and other food services. For many of these workers, tips and commissions supplement the hourly wages received.

The states with the highest proportions of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Idaho (all between 7 and 8 percent). The states with the lowest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were Alaska, Oregon, California, Montana, and Washington (all under 2 percent). It should be noted that some states have minimum wage laws establishing standards that exceed the federal minimum wage.

The proportion of hourly paid workers earning the prevailing federal minimum wage or less declined from 5.2 percent in 2011 to 4.7 percent in 2012. This remains well below the figure of 13.4 percent in 1979, when data were first collected on a regular basis.


More info, including comprehensive tables, at the link:

http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2012.htm
 

iBlazed

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Feb 27, 2014
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Don't understand the issue. Sounds like the free market will rule in Oklahoma.
If by "free market" you mean keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer as a result of conservatives and their obsession with destroying the middle class, then yes it's the free market. Maybe we should reintroduce indentured servitude while we're at it, that should make even more of a "free market"! Hell, let's just bring back full grown slavery, if people have a problem with companies who used slave labor they'll just stop buying from them right? Free market y'all!!!
 

ThisIsNotMe

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If by "free market" you mean keeping the rich richer and the poor poorer as a result of conservatives and their obsession with destroying the middle class, then yes it's the free market. Maybe we should reintroduce indentured servitude while we're at it, that should make even more of a "free market"! Hell, let's just bring back full grown slavery, if people have a problem with companies who used slave labor they'll just stop buying from them right? Free market y'all!!!
My mentor came from India. He was born in a dirt hut. He worked his way to America on an oil tanker only to spend a decade working to get his wife to the states. He lived in a one bedroom apartment with 3 children to fund his business.

He sold his business as one of the fist outside acquisitions in Silicon Valley for $250 million.

Don't try and lecture me about the 'rich' vs. 'poor'.
 

iBlazed

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My mentor came from India. He was born in a dirt hut. He worked his way to America on an oil tanker only to spend a decade working to get his wife to the states. He lived in a one bedroom apartment with 3 children to fund his business.

He sold his business as one of the fist outside acquisitions in Silicon Valley for $250 million.

Don't try and lecture me about the 'rich' vs. 'poor'.
What EXACTLY is your point?
 

chown33

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Aug 9, 2009
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Politicians and equivocators love the words "Free" and "Freedom" because everyone hears what they want to hear. The crowd falls for them every time.

They're quite insidious words.
They are Yang worship words. You will not speak them.
 

ThisIsNotMe

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What EXACTLY is your point?
That the free market works for those who choose to execute.

If you choose to be some bearded/tattooed millennial who wants to smoke weed and drink all day you probably aren't going to make it.

If you choose to work and provide value, you probably will make it.

Simple as that.
 

iBlazed

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Feb 27, 2014
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That the free market works for those who choose to execute.
Not everyone is born equal, some people have lower IQ's than others, some are simple minded and work low end or manual labor jobs. Should these people not be paid livable wages for their full time work so they can have healthcare, food, transportation, and a roof over their head?

If you choose to be some bearded/tattooed millennial who wants to smoke weed and drink all day you probably aren't going to make it.
Oh stereotyping an entire generation as well, how incredibly insightful. Tell us more!
If you choose to work and provide value, you probably will make it.

Simple as that.
You have a truly screwed up and disgusting view of people who need public assistance.
 

hulugu

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Aug 13, 2003
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...Oklahoma has 43 cities with populations over 10,000. Just imagine each one having a different minimum wage. Then toss in the smaller towns, cities and those that work in the rural county areas too.
Well, I don't know about Okla. but Calif. and Ore. seem able to make this work.

That the free market works for those who choose to execute.
In a strict simulation, this is true. Of course, there are too many unconstrained variables in real life to take this idea all that seriously.

...If you choose to be some bearded/tattooed millennial who wants to smoke weed and drink all day you probably aren't going to make it.
I'm not sure why you chose "bearded/tattooed millennial" to modify the behavior of drug use and drinking. I'm working late in a cafe owned by a "bearded and tattooed millennial" and he's pretty successful, and we talked for a good twenty minutes about the new beer on tap.

....If you choose to work and provide value, you probably will make it.

Simple as that.
Again, absolutely true in ideal circumstances. But I've seen lazy people get by on half-assed work for real money while immigrant farmers leave sweat and blood in the field for a few dollars a day.

I'm distrustful of such a simple and pat analysis.