Governor Branstad Backs Single Minimum Wage Bill and Calls for Higher Wage

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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Governor Terry Branstad says he supports a measure that would ban individual counties from deciding their own minimum wages.  At the same time he says its time for the state to raise its minimum wage.

House Study Bill 92 would strip the rights of individual communities from setting their own minimum wages and force them to revert their minimum wage back to $7.25 per hour.  Johnson, Linn, Polk and Wapello Counties have all passed resolutions raising their minimum wage above that level.  Polk County Supervisor Tom Hockensmith, who lead the way on Polk County’s wage increase, calls the bill unconstitutional.

On Monday morning Governor Branstad said he supports the plan to block local control on minimum wages.  At the same time he now says he thinks the state needs to raise its minimum wage.  Branstad has resisted calls for a higher wage made by legislative Democrats in recent years.

The Governor says the increase is need to stay competitive with our neighboring states.  Only Wisconsin has a minimum wage mirroring both Iowa and the federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour.  Minnesota’s minimum wage is $9.50 per hour.  Nebraska pays a starting wage of $9.00 per hour.

“We need to look at what our neighboring states are doing. I want to keep us competitive,” Governor Branstad said Monday morning, I” don’t want us to destroy jobs but the present minimum wage has been in place for sometime and it may be appropriate to do a modest increase over time as our neighboring states have done.”

Governor Branstad didn’t say how big of an increase he would support.