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MINIMUM WAGE: Iowans Discuss Increase In Pay

An effort to raise the minimum wage in Iowa is gaining momentum, as the 2014 Legislative Session starts up.

A group of Iowans is coming together to push for higher wages.

Iowa’s minimum wage started at $2.85 an hour in 1990.  It’s climbed to $7.25 an hour in the 24 years since.

That works out to about $15,000 a year.

“It`s a lot of poverty for us, we don`t have the same life as rich people and we have to live day to day with bills, food, all sorts of expenses,” says Nereida Castro of Des Moines.

Castro and her husband both work minimum wage jobs in the fast food and construction industries.

With five kids, every dollar is spoken for.

“We have to limit many things to give to our kids to only make rent, to cover basic expenses, we have to limit so much,” says Castro.

Iowa’s Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund is leading the charge for change.

“We see a lot of people who are barley scrapping by on $7.25 supporting families,” says Community Organizer Vanessa Marcano.

Marcano and other CCI members spent the day at the statehouse lobbying lawmakers.  They want Iowa’s minimum wage increased to $12.00 an hour.

“We want to see action from legislators, we want our communities who are hard working to have a decent life,” says Marcano.

Democratic State Representative Mark Smith agrees the wage need to be increased.

“Our experience in Iowa has shown that raising the minimum wage has little effect on businesses but gives working Iowans hope for a better future,” says Rep. Smith.

Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen isn’t as optimistic.  He’s concerned a minimum wage increase will prevent new employers from moving to Iowa, but he’s open to discussion.

“We`re not throwing the conversation out but we want to make sure we go into that with our eye wide open,” says Rep. Paulsen.

Castro says any increase in her wage would be a good start.

“I would be able to live a life where I don`t feel like I’m drowning,” says Castro.

Gov. Branstad has said he won’t rule out raising the minimum wage in the state.

At the federal level, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin has proposed boosting the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

7 comments

  • Tony Wen

    With Obama care destroying the United States, raising minimum wage will just allow food commodities to go up unless they put a cap or percentage rate growth on food. why not drop food prices. but we really have to raise the wage. to pay for dictator obamas desires. Or let us keep more of our money but of course taxes will go up too. so, i just see a temp fix again…too sad they can’t see there is a whole in the boat,buckets aren’t the answer a plug would be .right?

  • Coffee Pot

    $12 an hour, that’s $5 more an hour, which is $ 200 a week, which could make them pay for their Obamacare, or lose one of their jobs, or lose their food stamps, etc. Which if your making $ 12.00 now, you’ll want $ 16, if you make $ 20 you’ll want $ 30.
    No prices will go up surely, Rent won’t raise any. In this so called booming economy, a lot of small employers are flipping a coin every week to keep going or going back to work for someone else.
    I have had jobs where they thought 25 cents was a big raise, but not to many give raises of $ 5.00.
    Get’s kind of tiring, politicians thinking wages just fall from the sky, it comes from some where. Instead of your lunch costing 10 bucks, it will be 15.

    • 2014

      The cost of your services will just have to raise as well. Will be right where they are now because businesses will make up the difference by charging more for their products, services, etc. Small business owners are definitely affected by this. I agree with Coffee Pot- as an employer we look at our costs to operate, while our pay rates are higher than minimum wage we also know that in order to stay in business you will have to charge out more and there is also the higher payroll taxes on that wage that will need to be paid. Either way I don’t see it as a total win-win situation for anyone.

  • William Denison

    No increase will happen. They will do what they always have done. Kick the can down the road and replace those who leave this state for a better life with those from third world nations seeking a better life.
    Done and done.

  • Brian

    Raising the minimum wage increases costs of goods and services across the board for all consumers (including those with the minimum wage hikes) which eventually negates the increase in effect because the purchasing power of the dollar goes down.

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