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By W. Gardner Selby May 30, 2014

In 2014, Rick Perry saying he opposes federal government setting minimum wage

It didn’t surprise us to read that Gov. Rick Perry opposes a hike in the federal minimum wage. Many Republicans do.

Our curiosity was stirred by another claim in a May 29, 2014, email to reporters from the Democratic National Committee: "Perry not only opposes raising the minimum wage… he doesn’t think there should be one."

None whatsoever?

The current Texas minimum wage, tied by law to the federal minimum, is $7.25 an hour. Nationally, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states had minimum wages exceeding the federal minimum as of January 2014, while Delaware’s minimum was set to pass the federal minimum as of June 2014.

Perry said in a Feb. 21, 2014, appearance on CNN’s Crossfire: "I don’t think that it’s the government’s business to be setting the minimum wage out there."

A week later, Perry elaborated on Iowa Press, a program on Iowa Public Television.

Asked if he would repeal the minimum wage law if it were up to him, Perry said: "I think you leave that to the small businessmen and women. I mean, the competitive nature of the free market works really well."

Pressed to air a repeal position, Perry replied: "I don’t know whether I would repeal it or not. But I don’t think that the federal government in Washington, D.C., needs to be… setting... the standard out there. I think" if " it’s left to the small businessmen and women of the country, it makes a lot more sense to me."

He added: "If a state wants to set a minimum wage, that should be that state’s prerogative, but not out of Washington, D.C."

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Perry, asked if he would repeal the state minimum wage in Texas if federal law didn’t impose a minimum, said: "I would leave it up to the Legislature to have a conversation on it and have a good debate about it. You know, is this a job creation or is it a job killer? If it’s killing jobs, I’m not going to be for it."

After we tracked down these appearances, DNC spokeswoman Kiara Pesante offered them up by email as the basis of the group’s claim.

Footnote: Perry may not have entertained the prospect of government not setting a minimum wage in the past. According to an Oct. 22, 2006, Houston Chronicle news story on the Texas governor’s race that fall, Perry declined to say if he favored raising the state minimum wage (then $5.15) above the federal level; the story said Perry "reiterated his support" for the state’s minimum-wage law as written.

We contacted Perry's office about where he stands on this topic and didn't hear back.

Our ruling

The Democratic committee said Perry doesn’t think there should be a federal minimum wage.

He’s said that lately. We rate this claim as True.

TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.

Our Sources

Web page, "Minimum Wage Laws in the States - January 1, 2014," Texas, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, last revised December 2013 (accessed May 29, 2014)

Web page, "State Minimum Wages | 2014 Minimum Wage by State," National Conference of State Legislatures, undated (accessed May 29, 2014)

Video, "Rick Perry: Not govt's business to set minimum wage," Crossfire, CNN, Feb. 21, 2014 (viewed May 29, 2014)

Video, "Gov. Perry: Government shouldn't set minimum wage; it's up to businesses," Iowa Press program, Iowa Public Television, Feb. 28, 2014 (viewed May 29, 2014)

News story, "Candidates for governor have different approaches to business; State's economy a matter of debate," the Houston Chronicle, Oct. 22, 2006 (Nexis search)

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More by W. Gardner Selby

In 2014, Rick Perry saying he opposes federal government setting minimum wage

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