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Rally at Statehouse to raise minimum wage in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A group of men and women rallied outside the Statehouse Friday because they are unhappy with Indiana’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

That would be about $15,000 a year for a full-time employee.

“That’s a poverty life, you cannot even support yourself,” said Tony Flora, President of the North Central Indiana AFL-CIO.

He is upset that a bill to raise it to $10.10 an hour, or about $21,000 a year, failed in the Indiana legislature this session.

“Absolutely frustrating,” he said. “Keeping people at this poverty wage for that long a period is absolutely cruel.”

He said he’ll keep raising his voice at rallies like Friday’s until a new bill is introduced.

He argues that raising the wage would have a positive affect across the entire economy.

“When people have more money to spend, they spend it and when they spend that money, businesses make more money,” Flora said.

But Ball State economist Michael Hicks said the research shows otherwise.

“That’s not going to be helpful in the long run,” Hicks said.

He argues that a government-imposed minimum wage will only hurt struggling businesses, especially in rural areas.

“What firms typically do is they won’t replace new workers or they’ll cut back on hours for workers,” Hicks said.

Flora disagrees because he believes the economy will eventually absorb the increase and it will turn out to help everyone.

“The minimum wage has been raised more than 30 times since it was first passed in 1938. If you’ve noticed, our country has survived quite well,” Flora said.

Both men support wage increases from private companies.

We’ve seen that recently with Walmart, McDonald’s, and others.

But Michael Hicks doesn’t think all businesses would be able to support a wage increase across the board.

The bill to raise the state wage failed in the legislature this session.

It has to be a session where they discuss budget, so it could be as late as 2017 before another bill is introduced.