State law could block city-wide minimum wage proposal - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

State law could block city-wide minimum wage proposal

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Chattanooga Councilman Moses Freeman wants to make the quality of life better for those who work in Chattanooga by creating a city-wide minimum wage. 

“I think it would be good for our community. More money would be circulating in the community, more people would have a better life, particularly those who work,” Freeman said, “Right now there is no leadership at the state or federal level by the legislative bodies to do anything about minimum wage and caring for people.”

Freeman wouldn’t give an exact  number but did say the city-wide minimum wage amount should be “significant” to the current federal wage of $7.25 an hour. 

After federal proposals failed, more cities and states are taking matters into their own hands. Between 2013 and 2014, 13 states and 10 county and city governments increased their minimum wage offering more than the federal minimum. 

District 7 Councilman Chris Anderson wants Chattanooga on that list. 

“In cities and state that have implemented a higher minimum wage than the federal standard, you’ve seen the quality of life go up in those areas and I’d love to see that happen in Chattanooga,” he said. 

Those with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce aren’t sure what the impact of a city-wide minimum wage would be on local businesses but do want a seat at the decision table. 

“We really want to go and have a conversation with our members and talk about how it might impact them before we move forward with what we think about the idea,” Rob Bradham with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce said. 

But state law could block that proposal entirely. Passed in 2013, the law keeps local governments from setting a minimum wage that’s more than the state or federal minimums. 

“That’s what the process is about, is debating those proposals and hopefully passing the good ones,” Bradham said. 

Freeman tells Channel 3 he is working with the city attorney to draft an ordinance, he’d like to have that within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, Freeman says he plans to meet with groups in the area like the Chamber of Commerce to work out an exact dollar amount. 

If plans are able to move forward, Freeman would like to see the city-wide minimum wage in place in 60 days. 

To read the law for yourself, click HERE

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