CLEAR LAKE, Iowa – Iowa legislators say it may take more than having a close neighbor increase their wages for Iowa to do the same.
In Iowa, the minimum wage is still set based on the federal wage limit which is $7.25/hr, but some Iowa legislators say there is room for change if all major stakeholders are willing to have the crucial conversation.
“I’m open to that conversation and I think that anytime we can talk about the cost of living and we can start taking a look at incomes and stuff, I think that’s a good conversation to have,” said State Rep. Josh Byrnes, (R) Osage.
$9.25 by 2016 is the compromise that Minnesota lawmakers came to Thursday afternoon before the bill was signed.
Byrnes says he fears that politics may get in the way of a conversation that needs to take place between the workforce and local business owners.
“I want everybody to make more money. I want everybody to have that opportunity and freedom but it is true that if the wages go up, then we just have to raise everything up too,” said Brad Barber, Cabin Coffee Co-Owner.
Barber is the co-franchise owner of Cabin Coffee and while his employees are getting paid above minimum wage, he understands what pressures may come for a business owner if wages are raised.
“From the business owner’s standpoint, you can’t just take a hit and then expect to absorb the cost. We have certain expenses that we have to pay and so if that increases, then we have to increase our prices,” said Barber.
With those price hikes, Byrnes says he fears jobs may also be at stake.
“I don’t want to create a situation where the business owner starts suddenly cutting people or cutting hours because they got to pay more in salary so it is a very complicated bill. I think that there’s a lot of different things that we need taken the consideration as we move forward,” said Byrnes.
Byrnes says while he doesn’t believe a bill will be proposed this session, he believes we may see something more concrete in next years session.