by Billy Ball
North Carolina Republicans may not be too keen on raising the state's $7.25 minimum wage, much less talking about it. But progressive groups, catching on to the political winds across the southeast, continue to hammer lawmakers on the issue.
In its latest report, the progressive policy group, N.C. Justice Center, points out that boosting the wage would likely bring benefits for both workers and the state's recovering economy. It's typical economic theory that putting more money in consumers' pockets makes consumers spend more, a message that means a lot right now as many North Carolinians are bringing home smaller tax returns.
The group says raising the state wage to around $10 an hour—a number popular with national Democrats such as President Obama—would affect about 1 million workers in North Carolina, increasing paychecks in the state by an estimated $2 billion annually.
More than 85 percent of those workers would be older than 20 and more than half work full-time, the report said. Furthermore, voters in North Carolina, long consider among the most labor unfriendly states in the nation, may be ready for it.
It's not so farfetched in North Carolina. A 2014 poll by left-leaning Public Policy Polling reported that 58 percent of North Carolinians support a minimum wage increase. And in 2014, voters approved wage increases in GOP bastions such as Arkansas and Nebraska.