City government in Montgomery, Alabama did a powerful thing recently: they voted to raise the minimum wage in their city from the national minimum to a much more respectable $10.10 in order to help struggling workers in the southern state. Hooray, right?
That is until the Alabama state government forced through legislation banning a city from raising the minimum wage. Republican legislators in the state said that did so under the leadership of Alabama governor Robert Bentley. Bentley claims that he believes minimum wage should be uniform across the entire state while Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner argued that allowing the city to raise its minimum wage would stall economic growth.
“We want businesses to expand and create more jobs – not cut entry-level jobs because a patchwork of local minimum wages causes operating costs to rise. Our actions today will create predictability and consistency for Alabama’s economy, which benefits everyone.”
Alabama is one of five states that do not have a state minimum wage higher the national requirement. Clearly, the government in Alabama is not interested in giving its workers a fair wage, and even when individual cities move to properly compensate their workers based on the individual needs of the city itself, the state government cannot stand for that level of sovereignty.
The Republican lawmakers are sending a clear message that they will not allow these – in their view – peons to make their own decisions because then the rest of the little people of the state will be tempted to stand up on their own two feet and demand similar reform. Anytime those in power see a small flame of independence or revolution, it must be stomped out immediately.