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Citizen-Times - McCrory Adjusts Position on Minimum Wage

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Location: Raleigh, NC

Citizen-Times - McCrory Adjusts Position on Minimum Wage

Pat McCrory says if elected governor he would consider boosting the state's minimum wage under certain conditions, three months after voicing skepticism about such a raise for the lowest-paid workers.

"I would consider raising the minimum wage if it is combined with efforts to help small businesses, with possible tax breaks, and also to help them hire summer employees," the Republican nominee said Tuesday in an interview, echoing his campaign's recent statements.

Ahead of the May 6 GOP primary, McCrory tentatively opposed an increase. A group backed by Democrats has seized on those May comments to the Citizen-Times, airing a television commercial accusing the Charlotte mayor of opposing a wage increase while supporting a pay raise for himself.

North Carolina employers must pay the $6.55 federal wage, which rises to $7.25 next year.

"For right now, I'd probably keep it the way it is. I think the market conditions, especially during recessionary times, must protect the jobs, not lose the jobs," McCrory said in May.

He said then that stricter requirements could discourage employers from providing summer jobs to at-risk youths.

McCrory maintained Tuesday he hasn't changed his stance. His earlier comments applied only to an increase not backed by other measures, he said.

He said he also would consider separate minimum wages for full-time workers and part-time or summer employees, he said.

His Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue, has said she would support raising the minimum wage.

"Pat McCrory changes what he says depending on the audience to whom he's speaking," N.C. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kerra Bolton said.

McCrory said the advertisement by the Alliance for North Carolina, an "issue-advocacy" group known as a 527, distorts his positions.

The ad ties him to pay raises for council members and the mayor in this year's Charlotte city budget. McCrory said he didn't support the raises, though he didn't veto the budget, and his campaign said council minutes don't show him taking a position.

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