The Democratic frontrunner for governor in Iowa has proposed increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current minimum of $7.25, arguing that too many Iowans work multiple jobs just to get by.
“A low minimum wage makes those choices predisposed,” Jack Hatch, a state senator, said on Monday. “Families make bad choices because they don’t have enough income.” The state senator noted that Iowa has the ninth highest percentage “of people working multiple jobs,” a burden that prevents families from “interacting with one another” and building relationships within their communities. Congressional Democrats, including outgoing Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and President Obama back the increase.
On January 1, over 1.4 million workers will receive a raise as a result of an increase in the minimum wages in 13 states, according to an analysis by the National Employment Law Project (NELP). As a result, 21 states will now have minimum wages higher than the federal wage of $7.25. Higher wages could be on their way across the country, as proposals have been introduced in Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. Economists estimate that a $10.10 wage would lift nearly 6 million people out of poverty and boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $22.1 billion.
In Iowa, lawmakers last increased the minimum wage in 2007 and it’s unclear if the measure can survive the Republican-controlled House.