A bill to raise Iowa’s minimum wage was unveiled Tuesday at the statehouse. The Senate bill would raise Iowa’s minimum wage a dollar and five cents in each of the next two years, to $7.25 an hour. And a new cost-of- living provision would automatically raise it after that.
Lobbyists for restaurants, casinos, and others warned their business will suffer and families won’t be helped. Andy Warren of the American Federation of Independent Business says: "The largest beneficiaries of the minimum-wage increase are teenagers who live at home with their parents. So we’re not really helping those working families."
Labor representatives like Jan Lowe with the Iowa Federation of Labor said the higher wages would go back into the community and business would prosper. "We can’t expect people to continue to live on five dollars and fifteen cents an hour," Lowe says. "They can’t make it, put food on the table and a roof over their kids and put clothes on their backs for five-fifteen an hour."
Warren says business interests including casinos, restaurants and other service industry employers are already paying more for healthcare and property taxes. He says if you look at the minimum wage with all the other expenses a business owner faces, it’s "just one more increased cost that a business owner quite honestly doesn’t need."
Federation of Labor spokeswoman Lowe says in states that increased their minimum wage, surveys show businesses are doing just fine. Small businesses, she says, are hiring more people and "doing better than ever." By increasing the minimun wage, Lowe says we’re increasing the economy and supporting those small businesses. Three democrats and one republican signed a subcommittee report sending the bill on to the full labor committee for debate.