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Virginia Senator wants to increase minimum wage by $2

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour.

July 31, 2012|Elizabeth Harrington | Reporter

ROANOKE, Va — The cost of living keeps going up and for minimum wage workers it's tough to make ends meet.

Now one Virginia lawmaker wants to change that. Sen. Jim Webb is co-sponsoring legislation to raise the federal minimum wage by two dollars.

Right now minimum wage is $7.25/ hour. That equals a yearly salary of $15,080.

The proposal seeks to raise it to $9.80/ hour.  That translates to an annual salary of 20,384 dollars.  

People who live on minimum wage say it's tough. They live paycheck to paycheck and some rely on welfare to get by.

"Sometimes I don't have very much left just not really to buy food with or anything like that," says Beth Howard who has lived on minimum for several years.

We spoke with one contractor who says he pays his workers above minimum wage but admits it's hard to do especially when you're a small business.

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Some people worry raising the minimum wage will mean higher costs of food and other products.

But the Economic Policy Institute says any increase in minimum wage will boost the economy and add more jobs. That's because they say typically people who make minimum wage spend most, if not all of their paycheck.

The last time Congress okayed an increase to minimum wage was 2006.

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