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N.C. Minimum Wage Hike Fails

RALEIGH, N.C. -- An effort to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.15 failed in the North Carolina state House by a 66-52 vote, the N.C.-based News and Observer reported.

Proponents said raising the minimum wage was best for workers, but opponents including a collection of business and trade groups such as N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry, and associations representing home builders, retail merchants, convenience stores, restaurants and long-term care home operators, said those same low-wage workers would lose their jobs when their companies close or cut jobs to reduce expenses.

The $1 increase would have raised the hourly pay for 139,000 people, said Sorien Schmidt, legislative director for the N.C. Justice Center, an advocacy group that worked for the measure.

More than a dozen states have higher minimum wages than the federal minimum of $5.15 an hour.

The bill made it to a vote of the full House after two passes through the House Commerce Committee. The committee defeated the bill 16-18 Wednesday afternoon but came back Wednesday night to pass it, 19-17.

Gregg Thompson, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said before the vote, "We will see job losses, we will see increased prices on retail items if the minimum goes up."
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