A bill to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour cleared an initial hurdle in the Democratically-controlled Iowa Senate, but it’s going no further.
Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha who is speaker of the Iowa House, says the GOP is opposed to the idea.
“If you’re interested in putting Iowans back to work, then you need to make it easier to be an employer in the state of Iowa, not harder,” Paulsen says.
Plus, the Democrat who’s chairman of the Senate Labor Committee doesn’t plan to bring the bill up for debate either. But Senator Tom Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington who’s the chief sponsor of the proposal, says he doesn’t see a downside to raising the minimum wage.
“Everybody that tells me this is bad is making a lot more money that $10 an hour,” Courtney says. “…I want to hear somebody that’s making $9 an hour saying, ‘You know, that’s just perfect. I don’t need it. It’s perfect,'” Courtney says. “You never hear that.”
The minimum wage today is $7.25 an hour. John Gilliland of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry says teenagers would be hardest hit if the minimum wage is hiked because businesses would scale back entry-level and temporary jobs.
“Ironically, every time that we’ve raised the minimum wage, we’ve actually seen job losses as a result of it,” Gilliland says.
The first bill former Democratic Governor Chet Culver signed into law was an increase in the state minimum wage. When Culver took office in 2007, the minimum wage was $5.15 an hour. Culver approved a two-step process of raising it to the current $7.25 an hour. Iowa’s minimum wage was higher than the nation’s until mid-2009 when congress approved a $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage.