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Is minimum wage enough?

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The push for a higher minimum wage gets a boost from a nationwide campaign. It is called, “Live the Wage.”

In the span of a week, elected officials and community leaders vow to live off $77.

700,000 people get paid minimum wage in North Carolina. NC Policy Watch says the problem I straightforward; jobs that don’t pay enough to pat the bills, can’t sustain the economy.

In spite of failed Congressional attempts to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, states have taken it upon themselves to increase wages.

The Associated Press reports, out of 13 states that boosted their minimums at the beginning of the year the number of jobs grew an average of 0.85% from January through June. The average for the other 37 states was 0.61%.

Alonzo Stevenson is a 22-year-old working at a pizza giant making minimum wage. Stevenson says it's barely enough to get by. “I just paid $97 dollars for a $380 light bill.” Stevenson said. “That's one check of mine a month. I wouldn't have been able to pay that by myself."

Between 4 roommates and help from his family Stevenson does make it, however he doesn't have transportation and he doesn't have kids.

"If he can't live on minimum wage, how is he going to raise a family on minimum wage?" Lois Williams, Stevenson’s grandmother says.

According to an NC Justice Center report minimum wage isn't enough to pay for housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation and miscellaneous expenses.

A person making $7.25 an hour earns $290 a week. Subtract $176 dollars for housing and $35 for taxes and they are left with $77.

"You know people don't have insurance, they have to go to the doctor, they have to buy medicine, they have to buy food, if minimum wage don't go up, how are they going to make it? Williams said.

Advocates are pushing for a higher wage. They hope this campaign will make a difference in helping people see that $7.25 is not enough.

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