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Lawmaker: 'Don't expect a minimum wage increase in South Carolina'

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Wednesday, nearly half of the country will be raising the minimum wage.

But, one state lawmaker said it's not likely South Carolina will be added to that list.

The National Employment Law Project says Jan. 1, 21 states will increase the minimum wage, and then four more later in the year. South Carolina is not on that list.

"I have not had a conversation about raising the minimum wage with any other legislatures. It’s a non-starter, I believe," said Rep. Tim McGinnis (R), who represents Horry County.

McGinnis isn't just a lawmaker, though.

“I own a business, I know lots of people that own businesses, no one is really paying that minimum wage," he said. "I couldn’t afford to pay someone minimum wage, because they’d go someplace else to get the job.”

It's created a competition.

"We have so many businesses here that are competing for employees, that they have to pay a decent wage to decent workers," said McGinnis.

He says the competition is a healthy way to raise the minimum wage, but if it were required, it'd be dangerous.

“A lot of places are going to have to go out of business, they’re going to have to raise prices, and eventually, you’re going to have to raise everything up to where it’s not really a pay increase at all," he said.

Others say if it stays the same, it would be dangerous, too.

“$7.25 is not enough to live on. Nowhere in the country," said Aaron Wade.

"It's a trend in this country, where the richer are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer, and a lot of people are getting rich by not paying a living wage," he said. "People need to be able to have a living wage, and have some of the advantages that, being an American, they should have."

McGinnis said it's a small population earning minimum wage.

“Now there are some jobs around here that, in the summertime, do pay minimum wage," he said, "but those are being paid to high school students and people who aren’t really depending on that income.”

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McGinnis also said every area of South Carolina is different, so if there is ever a change, it should be done by municipalities.

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