Branstad Talks of Raising Minimum Wage, Staff Later Clarifies That he Isn’t Pushing for it

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa Governor Terry Branstad left confusion about whether he thinks it is now time to raise the state's minimum wage for the first time since 2008.

"I would prefer that we have a uniform statewide minimum wage, rather than a hodgepodge of county by county, city by city minimum wage that could be, I think, confusing for people," Branstad said Monday morning.

But about two and a half hours later, his staff sent out two messages on Twitter.

The past few years, Republicans at the statehouse have largely blocked Democrats' efforts to raise the current $7.25 per hour minimum wage. But some businesses have complained that four counties (Polk, Wapello, Johnson and Linn) have already voted on their own to raise rates in their jurisdiction.

That means a franchise owner could have to pay employees the current minimum wage in a store in the Polk County part of West Des Moines and a higher wage at another store in the Dallas County part of the same city.

Branstad called that a "challenge and difficult for many businesses."

He added that there could be legal questions as to whether a county can set its own rate higher than the statewide requirement.

Five of the six bordering states have a higher minimum wage than Iowa. Only border state Wisconsin, like Iowa, still has the same statewide minimum as the federal rate.