The idea of a minimum wage—the lowest hourly salary companies are legally allowed to pay employees—is argumentative in Texas politics. Texas lacks a state minimum wage; instead, it exceeds the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Whether and by how much the minimum wage should be raised is a topic of intense debate. According to supporters, raising the wage would increase the buying power of many low-income Texans and enable them to escape poverty. However, opponents argue that pay increases might force companies to reduce employment to cover increased labor expenses, harming the same disadvantaged people who are supposed to be assisted. Also, several state and federal measures have recently been filed to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour over several years. Fiscal conservatives, however, oppose these measures ideologically, and there is doubt that significant increases in the minimum wage are now prudent or realistic for Texas; hence, legislators and policy experts in Texas must continue to discuss this complicated problem vigorously.
To begin with, the argument put up by those who support increasing the minimum wage is that doing so will significantly reduce poverty among low-income Texans. Over 20% of Texas hourly workers make less than $12 per hour, which leaves many of them unable to pay for necessities, according to information from Robert (2022). Raising the pay floor, according to supporters, would provide these workers and their families with more financial security. For instance, proponents of the Economic Policy Institute’s proposed $15 minimum wage law calculate that it could increase the yearly income of more than 5 million impoverished Texans (Robert, 2022). They also contend that more excellent wages would stimulate the economy because workers would spend their pay increases locally. Proponents downplay inflation worries by citing Jardim et al.’s (2022) article. The article states that, in the past, the price effects of big cities raising the minimum wage varied from insignificant to modest. Advocates see raising the minimum wage as a workable legislative option that would help hardworking Texans escape poverty by providing them with larger salaries at little expense to the general public.
Notably, the argument put up by opponents is that a significant increase in Texas’ minimum wage will result in fewer opportunities and job losses for the same people that the legislation is intended to assist. Business advocacy organizations reportedly firmly believe that rising costs will negatively impact small firms, requiring many owners to reduce personnel or hours to preserve financial viability. According to Herzenberg et al. (2023), estimates often released by organizations like the Texas Public Policy Foundation show that a $15 minimum wage will likely eliminate over 500,000 jobs in the retail, food service, and other low-wage sectors statewide. In addition, detractors refute claims that increases in the minimum wage do not affect consumer pricing. For instance, Kim et al.’s 2021 study revealed that in places where substantial wage ceilings were implemented, food service costs increased by more than 4% (Kim et al., 2021). Further, because more than half of minimum-wage workers are above the poverty line, some contend that increasing base pay primarily benefits suburban youths rather than low-income families. Opponents argue against rapid leaps to $15 per hour, preferring to make no changes or just small, gradual pay increases tied to inflation, given worries about cost inflation and job loss.
Personal Assessment/Policy Proposal
After carefully examining the information on both sides, I now more strongly agree with the argument that increasing Texas’ minimum wage will significantly assist low-income workers and their families while having few adverse effects. Encouraging full-time workers to escape poverty ought to be a top policy goal, even if doing so means making compromises. However, comparable policies may succeed in Texas if adequately implemented. Based on evidence showing that wage rises have increased compensation without causing significant job losses or price surges in several states now that the minimum wage is $15 per hour. However, my viewpoint deviates significantly from the general proponent’s position that phase-in plans should be implemented gradually for economic reasons. While going straight to $15 an hour runs the danger of causing uncontrollable disruption, progressive, gradual hikes adjusted to inflation over more than five years strike the correct balance. This gives companies the flexibility to modify payroll strategies while continuing to assist the more than 20% of Texans who are employed under our antiquated $7.25 wage level and remain impoverished. Hence, given Texas’s high GDP and the fact that businesses are already cutting employees due to technology, we can afford to take the lead on this problem.
Furthermore, based on my analysis, the Texas legislature should approve a proposal to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour over six years. The phase-in should start on January 1st, 2025, with an initial rise of $2 per hour. After that, there should be $1 raises on January 1st of every year until January 1st, 2030, when the raise will reach $15 per hour. To guarantee that buying power never again stagnates at poverty levels if economic circumstances change, indexing future pay increases to inflation after achieving this goal. Also, raising wages for more than 5 million Texans would bring billions of dollars into the state’s local economies, spurring expansion and success in various industries, including housing and retail. The success of comparable models in other states and the favorable financial situation demonstrates that Texas businesses may adjust by implementing modest price increases or labor efficiency advancements instead of job layoffs. This well-balanced approach allows six years for absorption into financial planning while providing working poor people with much-needed assistance. Again, raising millions of Texans’ wages is a morally decent and economically stimulating move that will help individuals and businesses (Herzenberg et al., 2023). As a result, this legislation may establish Texas as a pioneer in providing fair chances for working families to overcome poverty through hard work, which aligns with my analysis and point of view.
In conclusion, this essay has examined arguments favoring and against Texas’s minimum wage increase beyond the antiquated federal figure of $7.25 per hour. Opponents point to possible job losses and price increases. However, data indicates that these effects have been minimal in areas where minimum wages have been gradually raised to $13–$15 per hour. More importantly, for millions of working low-income Texans trapped at poverty wages, increased base pay translates into less poverty, more economic opportunity, and broader financial security. After weighing the situation’s complexities, I think Texas should enact a six-year phase-in plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour across the state. After that, the minimum wage would automatically be adjusted for inflation every year. This well-balanced plan would provide over 5 million eligible Texans with financial relief and a significant economic boost while gradually raising company requirements. Texas can set the norm for fair pay standards throughout the country since it has one of the most influential economies in the world. This policy aligns with ethical considerations that full-time employment should be sufficient to meet fundamental requirements and research findings about wage rules. Texas can advance development, wealth, and dignity by enacting a $15 minimum wage for everybody.
Herzenberg, S., Kovach, C., & Murtaza, M. (2023). The State of Working Pennsylvania 2023. Keystone Research Centre.
Jardim, E., Long, M. C., Plotnick, R., Van Inwegen, E., Vigdor, J., & Wething, H. (2022). Minimum-wage increases and low-wage employment: evidence from Seattle. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 14(2), 263–314.
Kim, S., Aydin, B., & Kim, S. (2021). Simulation modeling of a photovoltaic-green roof system for energy cost reduction in a building: a Texas case study. Energies, 14(17), 5443.
Robert, C. (2022). Clerical Turnover in the K–12 Campus Office. Journal of Education Human Resources, 40(2), 204–227.