A bill was introduced in the N.C. House of Representatives on Feb. 21 to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.
House Bill 146 would be effective as of Jan. 1, 2020, when the wage would increase from $7.25 an hour to $8.80 an hour. For every year until 2024, it would increase to $10.35 in 2021, $12 in 2022 and $13.50 in 2023. Changes would still be subject to the Consumer Price Index, which would allow lawmakers to accurately adjust the wage according to inflation.
Jon Sanders, a director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation described the impact the wage increase would potentially have on employment in the state.
"Workers who are not employable at the higher minimum wage will not find jobs," Sanders said.
An almost identical bill was introduced in the N.C. Senate in 2017, which would have increased the wage from $7.25 to $15 in 2022. The bill passed a first reading but never made it out of committee.
“To ensure that they can actively live in North Carolina, in my opinion it is a right thing to do. Why reintroduce it? Most bills, coming through here have to be reintroduced, because they may die in a committee, it just depends,” said N.C. Rep. Kandie Smith, D-District 8, one of the co-sponsors of the bill.
"Goods and services have increased, a lot of people are just living from paycheck to paycheck," said N.C. Sen. Joyce Waddell, D-Mecklenburg, a sponsor of the 2017 bill.
Smith said the new bill is significant for North Carolina families.
“We see a lot of people working two and three jobs to try and pay for their rent, put food on their table and take care of their kids,” Smith said.