RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- While Virginians were busy trying to thaw out late Thursday night, Republican lawmakers in the House put a freeze on the state's minimum wage rate, leaving it at $7.25 an hour.
“Everyone is certainly sympathetic with people that are struggling with wages,” House Majority Leader Kirk Cox said.
However, Cox tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall that increasing the minimum wage will likely hurt smaller businesses. He said it would leave employers with no other choice but to lay some workers off.
“A lot of times, you end up shrinking the labor force,” Cox said.
Cox believes that would happen quickly in Virginia because of our neighboring states that all have minimum wages of $ 7.25, which is consistent with the federal government.
Cox said that if our wage is higher, businesses may be compelled to relocate.
On the other hand, Democratic Delegate Joe Morrissey believes the opposite, calling the decision to keep the wage at $7.25 a “very short-sighted, pedestrian view.”
Morrissey instead said that businesses would attract higher quality workers willing to stay on the job longer and less reliant on state and federal benefits.
Democrats in the Senate agree. They voted to increase the minimum wage to $9.25 by 2015. But with the House is not in agreement, that won't happen.
"Very disappointing. Minimum wage is coming. It's either going happen at the state level or on the federal level,” Morrissey said.