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Bill to increase minimum wage in Utah to $10.25 an hour waiting to be heard in committee

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Is it time to raise the minimum wage in Utah? One State Representative believes it is and he's not just talking by one or two dollars per hour.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Is it time to raise the minimum wage in Utah? One State Representative believes it is and he's not just talking by one or two dollars per hour.

Representative Lynn Hemingway’s bill, HB 73, titled Living Wage Amendments would increase the minimum wage to $10.25 an hour, a $3.00 increase.

The cash wage for tipped employees would bump up to $3.13 per hour.

"I don't think anyone in our state should work full time and still be in poverty. They are out there trying to make a living and do the best for themselves and their families," said Hemingway, (D) Millcreek.

The bill would also create an automatic increase every other year, starting in 2016.

That increase would be calculated on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Reverend, Matt Seddon with Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church sees the challenges first hand in his congregation and supports the increase.

"They are struggling, struggling just to get by and so I see this as a way to help them live a life of dignity rather than just a life of survival," said Seddon.

Attorney and business owner, Jackie DeGaston says no way, when minimum wage goes up we all pay the price.

"People who have to pay higher salaries either pay fewer people, they find ways to do with less or they raise the cost to whatever it is they are producing, hamburgers, whatever, that is inflation for all of us," said DeGaston.

She argues minimum wage was never intended as a living wage, but Hemingway disagrees and says it will have a positive effect on the economy.

"These are people who need the money. They need to buy food, they need to buy gas, buy cars, pay rent. They aren't going to put this money in a Swiss bank account, they are going to spend it and they are going to spend it here," said Hemingway.

HB 73 was bumped Friday by the House Health and Human Services Committee due to time.

It's back on the schedule for Monday.

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