AEDC director supports Arkansas minimum wage hike

story from Talk Business, a TCW content partner

Arkansas Economic Development Commission director Grant Tennille says he’s supportive of efforts to raise the state minimum wage to $8.50 per hour, calling it a “jobs creator.”

Tennille, who was a panelist on this week’s “Talk Business & Politics” roundtable, also discussed changes coming to the state’s workforce development efforts and said he’s worried about a low balance in the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund.

Tennille said he has signed a petition to include on the November ballot a measure to raise the state’s minimum wage from $6.25 per hour to $8.50 over a three-year period.

“I think there is a lot of benefit behind raising the minimum wage,” said Tennille. “You will hear from some companies who say it’s a job killer. But what creates jobs is customers. People talk a lot about job creators – the ultimate job creator is a customer with money to spend.”

Tennille also said he is worried about a low balance in the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund, which with current commitments has a $6.8 million balance. State lawmakers opted not to replenish the fund with more money in the fiscal session.

“I’m worried about it,” he said. “One option that we have – and we’re going to begin to exercise is – there is an amount of money from the Quick Action Closing Fund that has been promised to projects over the course of – some of them a few years old now – and for whatever reason, the companies haven’t moved forward on the projects. We’ve kept the commitment.”

Tennille said those companies are going to have to pony up a plan or risk losing the money the state has promised.

“What we are going to do is begin to communicate to those companies that we need to see a plan for how you’re going to spend this money beginning in this next fiscal year and if you’re not ready, we may de-obligate that money to you,” he said.


Tennille also touched on three accomplishments in the last session that he said would move economic development efforts forward for the state. They included broadband expansion money for schools, charter school facilities funding, and a restructuring of workforce development efforts.

Link here for a video interview with Tennille.

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Hiking minimum wage

Stating that a hike in minimum wage will create jobs is a little stupid and more of a liberal want than a common sense plan. Before giving more money to employees hoping to create more customers, a business has to find that money in their budgets. That generally means cost cutting or price increases. Then the buying power of that income increase is washed away. Or worse than that the cost cutting comes in the form of reduction of hours or jobs to cover the added expense. Lets make government less intrusive and reduce corporate taxes and regulations then jobs will be created which will create competition for employees and wages naturally rise.

Great comment Mr Daughtry

Another bone head move by you know who to pander for votes and this is just another political white wash to hide his real agenda of a war on the private sector. "You can keep your doctor and you can keep your health care plan if you like it" was just one of the many broken promises coming from the big spender who has failed to move us forward. If there is more job creation and competition in the real labor market, wages will automatically rise to attract workers to the best paying jobs. Let the free market work and wages and benefits will improve with the growing job market.

Good jobs, flee market

The free market will create more good jobs overseas, just the way the multinational global corporations want it.

Higher Costs

Its looks to me like Tennille is not a person who has ever had dirty hands from hard work and with that said, raising the minimum wage on entry level jobs will do nothing but eliminate many of the jobs that students get to help fund their education and will raise the cost of fast foods for those who can not afford increases. Minimum Wage is designed to allow people going into the work place an opportunity to earn and learn as they go along and the good workers will move up on the pay scale as they perform better on their jobs. Pay always goes up when employers try to retain good workers that are an asset to their companies and the poor workers remain at low wages because of poor performance. The free market should set the price not government who always benefits from higher prices because of higher payroll taxes. If they want employees to keep more of their money, maybe they should quit taking payroll taxes out on minimum wage earners who are most likely students anyway. Just my two cents.