DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines County Democratic Party has proposed a $12 hourly minimum wage.
The Hawk Eye (http://bit.ly/2cCmgiQ ) reports that the party presented the proposal to the county board of supervisors on Tuesday. Iowa sets its minimum wage at the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
County Democratic Party chairwoman Sandy Dockendorff says requiring businesses to pay higher wages would decrease the amount of money government would pay to assist the working poor.
“With a higher minimum wage, the government revenue needed to pay for food stamps, Medicaid and other assistance the working poor now need in order to have a minimally decent standard of living would decrease, reducing the strain on our county and cities,” Dockendorff said.
Board of supervisors chairman Tom Broeker argued that increasing the minimum wage would lead to a loss of jobs and impact the county’s economy. Supervisor Bob Beck also argued that the minimum wage should be increased at the state level, not on the county level.
“The thing about unemployment is it’s worse than almost anything,” Broeker said. “It’s a lot worse than having a low wage job…You’ve gotta put a lot more weight on people losing their jobs. A few hundred dollars a year is important at the poverty level, but zero is a lot harder.
A 2014 report from the Congressional Budget Office concluded a gradual wage increase to $10.10 would lift 900,000 people above the poverty line, but it could also result in a net loss of up to 500,000 jobs.
Linn, Johnson and Wapello counties have recently passed ordinances to gradually raise their minimum wage.
Gov. Terry Branstad said earlier this year that he would consider signing a bill increasing the statewide minimum wage, but efforts by Iowa Senate Democrats to raise the wage consistently get stuck in the House.
Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com