The Delaware State Senate narrowly voted down a bill that would have raised the minimum wage.
The tally was 10-9. The rejection came despite amendments aimed at getting more votes. Democrats, who tend to support a higher minimum wage, have a narrow majority.
Senate Bill 10 called for the minimum wage to increase 50 cents a year beginning in 2017 and ending in 2020. After 2020, minimum wage increases would be based on cost-of-living adjustments under the federal Social Security Act.
In addition, this act required that employers pay an increased minimum wage based on cost-of-living adjustments under the federal Social Security Act in any year in which the federal minimum wage does not increase.
The bill was opposed by the business community, which argued that the measure would inflate all wages and hurt small businesses.
Opponents have also noted that many employers are now paying above minimum wage in an effort to attract staff.
The state’s minimum wage is now $8.25 an hour, a dollar lower than neighboring Maryland and a dollar above Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage matches the U.S. rate.
.There has been a nationwide push for a $15 an hour minimum wage. The city of Seattle now has a $15 an hour figure, with Washington, D.C. at $12.50.
Polls have shown strong support for a higher minimum wage. Arizona voters approved a $10.50 minimum wage, despite opposition from the business community.
Delaware has seen a couple of increases in the minimum wage in recent years.
The effort to raise the minimum wage has been led by State Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington. Marshall has argued the higher wage would the spur state’s economy.