What Would Happen in Iowa with a $15 Minimum Wage?

Date: October 04, 2016 Last Edit: November 08, 2016

Study: Hike would cost 78,000 jobs.

What Would Happen in Iowa with a $15 Minimum Wage?

A $15 an hour minimum wage in Iowa would mean the loss of
78,000 full-time-equivalent jobs by 2021, according to a recent report from the Heritage Foundation. If every state set a $15
minimum wage, 9 million jobs would be lost, the study said.

“The policy
would result in many states losing hundreds of thousands of jobs and would
considerably curtail employment opportunities, especially for less-skilled
workers,” the study said. “Efforts to create jobs and reduce poverty should not
center on forcing employers to pay higher starting wages.”

Though the $15-an-hour-trend hasn’t reached Iowa yet, a
growing number of Iowa counties are raising their minimum well above the
state’s $7.25.

Linn County will raise its minimum wage to
$10.25 by 2019, though some cities in the county may vote to set their own
minimum wages. Johnson County’s minimum wage will rise to
$10.10 by 2017. In Polk County, a task force has recommended
$10.75 by 2019, with a lower rate for those under 18.

Even smaller counties are exploring the trend. Lee County is forming a task force to study
the issue, while Wapello County will raise its rate to $10.10 by 2019.

But some worry that small business owners won’t be able to
afford higher labor costs.

“Instead of
focusing on job killing measures like increasing the minimum wage, Iowa
lawmakers should take a look at reducing state regulations and improving the
tax structure so that small businesses can afford to pay their employees
more, without the government dictating the amount,” NFIB Iowa State Director Kristin Failor said in January.

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