[Vision2020] Moscow group to support Idaho minimum wage increase

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Fri Jan 27 08:07:17 PST 2017

Courtesy of today's (January 27, 2017) Spokesman-Review.

Moscow group to support Idaho minimum wage increase

The League of Women Voters of Moscow will recommend that its statewide organization lobby Idaho legislators to raise the state’s minimum wage.

Throughout the state, local leagues are discussing a study conducted by the LWV of Idaho about Idaho’s minimum wage, and each will forward a consensus opinion back to the state organization with the intent of formulating a unified position to be presented to state legislators during the current session.

During a meeting Wednesday at the 1912 Center, members of the LWV of Moscow agreed the state should set a minimum wage, but felt Idaho should not continue to align its rate with the federal level, which is currently $7.25 an hour.

Federal legislation was passed in 1997 granting states the authority to set their own minimum wage rates, and there are now 29 states with a minimum wage higher than the federal rate, including Washington state, which has set its minimum wage at $11 an hour.

While states can set their own minimum wage rate, the LWV of Moscow said local governments in Idaho should be allowed to set a minimum wage rate greater than the state minimum, as regions throughout the state deal with varying factors that affect the cost of living. During the 2016 session, the state Legislature passed what has been labeled as the “minimum wage pre-emption law,” which banned local ballot measures or ordinances to increase the minimum wage. Gov. Butch Otter signed the bill into law.

Local league members also argued that the minimum wage should be a living wage.

Member Louise Regelin said her first paying job was $1.10 an hour, the minimum wage about 55 years ago.

“In one week I made enough to pay my rent, my phone, my electric bill and heat,” Regelin said.

LWV of Moscow Co-president Sue Ripley said she asked a manager at a big corporation department store in Boise about her employees. Ripley said the manager told her the corporation does not want to pay anything more than minimum wage.

“I said, ‘well, how does your staff exist on it?’ ” Ripley said. “And she says, ‘they work more than one job. Most of them have like three jobs.’ ”

LWV of Moscow Secretary Murf Raquet said league members should be careful about using the term “living wage” because he felt legislators would not pay attention if the term was used too often. He said he agreed a living wage is appropriate for entry-level positions and other people struggling, but the term should be lessened since the state consensus will be presented to legislators.

Member Sandra Kelly disagreed.

“Let’s say we want a living wage because we can’t live like this,” she said, adding legislators were going to overlook anything presented by the league. “So let’s get it all out there and let’s be bold about it.”


Moscow League of Women Voters discussion on minimum wage . . .


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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