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The racial equity impact of HB 32 is important because minorities in Virginia disproportionately work in minimum wage positions. The purpose of this report is to provide a racial impact analysis of House Bill (HB) 32, legislation proposed in the 2014 Virginia General Assembly to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour. According to 2013 data, 1.8 million workers in Virginia are paid hourly rates and 6.8 percent of these workers earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Examining fiscal years 2015 to 2020 for the Commonwealth, such an increase would cost $2,712,696. This impact includes the costs to cover additional staff for enforcement of the bill. Moreover, based on data provided by the Department of Human Resource Management, such an increase would also affect 264 salaried employees, costing an additional $296,252. In sum, this report examines the various and differing components surrounding HB 32 and minimum wage from a comprehensive perspective. This report examines why HB 32 failed, analyzes minimum wage versus living wage, and discusses what steps can be taken to promote racial income equality. In addition, this report charts a path forward toward policy that can be implemented legislatively with a positive effect on Virginia’s communities.
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VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Publications