The bill also would keep the statewide minimum wage at $7.25 an hour.
Jerry Parker, chairman of the Wapello County Board of Supervisors, says that’s not enough and it’s why his board voted to raise the wage in Wapello County last September.
“Historically, the Republican Party has been strong believers in local control,” he says. “That sounds good to everybody at election time, but when it is bad is when the reality comes and they say, ‘Well, yes, we believe in local control unless you disagree with what we want you to do, then we don’t believe in local control. You either do or you don’t.”
Republican supporters of the legislation, like House Speaker Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake, say “uniformity” in the wage rate is best for businesses.
“Having a patchwork all over the state doesn’t work out very well and now we have also a patchwork within a county,” Upmeyer said during a weekend appearance on IPTV’s “Iowa Press” program. “So Johnson County not only has got a county-wide minimum wage, but city minimum wages individually.”
That’s because the handful of counties that have taken action to raise the minimum wage have allowed cities to “opt out” so businesses in those communities do not have to pay the higher rate to workers. Boards of Supervisors in four Iowa counties have voted to set a local minimum wage that’s higher than the state rate of $7.25 an hour.
(Additional reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Sarah Boden)