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The share of Idaho workers earning minimum wage has grown from 5 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012. The growth has put Idaho in the top spot for the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country. How did that happen? And what’s being done to reverse the trend?

Effort To Raise Idaho's Minimum Wage Focuses On North Idaho Town

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports a former lawmaker and minimum wage increase advocate Anne Nesse has submitted paperwork to get a minimum wage increase on the local ballot. Voters may have the chance to raise the local minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 in 2016, then $10.25 in 2017.

Idaho has one of the lowest minimum wages in the West, and the minimum hasn't changed since 2009. Idaho uses the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Various campaigns have tried to boost Idaho's minimum, either through the voter-initiative process or through the state Legislature. None have been successful.

Nesse attempted to get a minimum wage increase on Idaho's ballot last year is scaling her efforts to target Coeur d'Alene. A short drive from Coeur d'Alene in Washington state, the minimum wage is $9.47.

Nesse and initiative partner, former North Idaho College President Bob Bennett would need 1,681 signatures to qualify for Coeur d'Alene's Nov. 3 ballot.

"$7.25 tells you that hard work gets you nothing," Nesse told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "Idaho values should be that when you work hard, put in a good day's work, you should at least be able to survive." 

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