Statehouse Democrats are staging a last-minute push to raise Iowa’s minimum wage before the legislative session ends. Senator Tom Courtney Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington, says while most Iowans earn more than $5.15 an hour, raising the base would help everyone.
Courtney says the chances of raising the minimum wage improved after Mary Lundby of Marion was elected Senate Republican leader last week. Lundby has supported increasing the minimum wage in the past, but she said last Friday that no Democrat had approached her about taking up the issue.
House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says raising the minimum wage will raise the cost of doing business in Iowa. However, Rants says he’s willing to consider it if Democrats will also discuss the other costs of doing business in Iowa.
Rants brings up three bills as part of a “trade-off” — one putting new limits on workmen’s compensation, one requiring more drug testing, and one limiting commercial property taxes. Rants says he’ll be happy to have a conversation about raising the minimum wage if those Republican priorities are revived. “You need to look at both sides of the equation,” Rants says. “If you’re going to raise the cost of doing business in Iowa, you also ahve to look at lowering the cost of doing business in Iowa, hoping that it nets out.”