Will Oklahoma get its first minimum wage raise in 12 years?

Oklahoma sure has changed over the last 12 years. Think about this: in 2008, Mary Fallin had not yet begun her reign of terror, Mick Cornett was putting OKC on a diet, and TLO was rounding out it’s first year as Oklahoma’s premier local obscure social blog by rating 1990s music videos and hot girls. Yeah, our world looked a lot different a dozen or so years ago.

But unfortunately, one thing that hasn’t changed is our minimum wage. Thankfully, a new bill may soon allow minimum wage employees at least afford to live in the year 2013.


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma state senator has filed legislation to increase Oklahoma’s minimum wage.

Senate Bill 1165, filed by Sen. George Young, would require employers to pay their employees a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour.

Oklahoma’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

“The spending power of a minimum wage paycheck has been significantly reduced since the last minimum wage raise more than a decade ago,” Young said, noting the last minimum wage increase in Oklahoma was in 2008 when the rate increased from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.

The legislation states that employers must pay their employees at least $10.50 per hour. If the federal minimum wage is raised above $10.50 per hour, the legislation states that employers must pay their workers the higher amount.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for an increase in minimum wage. Those $7.25 per hour gigs are not just for neck-bearded teenagers flipping burgers for gas money. Many adults are raising families on minimum wage. So if we are going to increase it, we at least need to make it livable.

“Oklahomans deserve to be paid fairly so they can offset the rising costs of healthcare, housing and food,” Young said. “Closing the wage gap between the poverty line and middle class would have a tremendous impact on our economy by increasing consumer spending and generating more tax revenue for our municipalities and state.”

Yes, a 45% increase in minimum wage will make a huge difference in quality of life and financial security for lots of folk in Oklahoma. Someone earning our current minimum wage rate of $7.25 would have to work about 67 hours per week to make ends meet. With this proposed increase in pay rate, it would take a 47-hour workweek to earn the same amount. So yes, the proposed increase is significant. But it sure as hell ain’t enough.

Hayley’s first “adult job” in banking paid her $8.50 per hour. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek