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Steckman: “Iowa workers deserve a wage increase”

MASON CITY – Representative Sharon Steckman says Iowa workers deserve a wage increase.

According to a newsletter she sent Friday:

Sharon Steckman
Sharon Steckman

After gridlock for nearly a decade, a group of Iowa lawmakers said this week that raising Iowa’s minimum wage should be one of the top priorities of the 2017 legislative session. There are over 216,000 Iowans who earn the minimum wage and 90,000 Iowans who would indirectly benefit from an increase.

Over the last 30 years, the minimum wage has failed to keep up with the struggles working families are facing. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would currently be $10.74 an hour. The current wage of $7.25 has 78% of the purchasing power it did in 1968.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of minimum wage workers are not teenagers. Eighty-one percent of workers benefiting from the wage increase are over 20 years old. In Iowa, 58% of minimum wage workers that will benefit from an increase are women. The new money injected into the economy would lead to an estimated 1,400 new jobs.

Last session, several lawmakers introduced a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25, Iowa’s current minimum wage, to $10.10 over several years’ time. This plan was not considered by Republicans in the Iowa House. Because of these roadblocks at the State Capitol, several Iowa counties have taken it upon themselves to raise the minimum wage themselves. The Board of Supervisors in Johnson, Wapello and Linn counties have all voted to raise the minimum wages in their respective counties.

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