Letter: Readers oppose minimum wage bill
We oppose HF 295. It pre-empts county minimum wage increases and drops wages across the state to $7.25 per hour.
Why are we opposed?
Economic self-sufficiency is a cornerstone of human dignity.
The cost of living varies across the state; is higher in urban areas and highest in Johnson County. A minimum wage aligned with local costs improves health, stability, and safety for vulnerable families.
Iowa Policy Project 2016 research indicates the $10.10 wage in Johnson and Linn counties would raise wages for 28,400 workers. In Johnson County, 82 percent of those workers are mid- to full-time employees, 78 percent are 20 years or older, 53 percent have some college education. In Linn County, the percentage of workers in full-time jobs with some post high school education is higher.
A depressed minimum wage results in taxpayers subsidizing low wage businesses. Workers who don’t earn enough to provide for basic needs turn to public benefits.
We believe in local control — especially when federal and state governments refuse to act on behalf of hardworking taxpayers. Polk, Linn, Johnson and Wapello counties acted to raise the minimum wage after eight years of inaction by lawmakers.
Five contiguous states (Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota) have a higher minimum wage than Iowa, yet Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer stated Republicans have no intention of raising Iowa’s minimum wage.
HF295 intends to repudiate independent action by local governments. In doing so, it denies economic self-sufficiency to workers.