Economic Expert Weighs-In on Texas Minimum Wage – What Did She Say?
If you are working for minimum wage here in Texas, you probably don't need an "expert" to tell you that it's an unlivable wage.
What Is The Minimum Wage in Texas?
$7.25 - that's the per hour minimum wage here in the State of Texas. For those unfamiliar with what that means, $7.25 is the least amount of money an employer can legally offer you to work for them. For those working for tips, the minimum hour wage per hour is $2.13.
Let's do some quick math. At $7.25 an hour and 40 hours per week, that would bring you $290 a week before taxes.
Times that by 52 weeks in the year and you've made a whopping $15,080 before the taxes hit you. For comparison's sake, $10 an hour isn't that much better at $20,800 a year.
Does that sound like a livable wage to anyone?
Jim Lee, a Professor of Economics at Texas A&M, tells KVUE, "A livable wage, it's going to be close to $40,000, I mean, we used to talk about $35,000, that was last year. We need at least $40,000 to make a comfortable living."
Lee does say that a raise in minimum wage would have its pros and cons, stating that a high minimum wage would hurt small businesses but would benefit the wage employee.
Cost of Living in Texas
A report released in 2021 shows the breakdown of what someone would need to make per hour in order to afford a 2 bedroom house or apartment.
Here in Bell County, the report shows that in order to live comfortably, they would need to make $15.67 per hour at 40 hours a week. That's more than double the current minimum wage here in Texas.
Time for a Change
Texas raised it minimum wage per hour back in 2009, more than 10 years ago. Since then, the cost of living as increased steadily. To be fair, there probably aren't very many places just offering the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to their employees, but many places do still offer a $10 an hour wage that really isn't much different.
Over the last several years, many states have increased their minimum wage to something more livable, like $12 an hour. California is currently the state with the highest minimum wage at $15 an hour.
Not Just Texas
In addition, the federal minimum wage is also $7.25 an hour, so this isn't just a Texas problem. It's something that should be dealt with on the federal level. A lot of companies have increased their minimum wage per hour as well hoping to attract potential employees.
The good news is that many people are getting back to work. The bad news is that many of those people are still making an unlivable wage.