Minimum Wage

LACEY DALEY / BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO

Idahoans For A Fair Wage wants to see the state's minimum wage raised above its current rate of $7.25 an hour. The federal rate was set in 2009 and in recent years, various states and municipalities have raised the wage on their own. The Fair Wage organization is gathering signatures to put the effort before voters as a ballot initiative. Idaho Matters speaks with the group's co-founder about life on minimum wage and Suzanne Budge from the Idaho chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business about the impacts on small business owners.

  • Efforts to raise Idaho's minimum wage.
  • Author Emily Ruskovich wins the International Dublin Literary Award.
  • Idaho doctors bring medical aid to Honduras.
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OTTO KITSINGER / AP

Idaho Matters leads a roundtable discussion of the week's headlines with the region's top journalists. This week we speak with Idaho Public Television's Bill Manny and Seth Ogilvie and Scott McIntosh of the Idaho Press. This week, we discuss efforts to raise the state's minimum wage, a race for the chairmanship of the state's Republican Party and a funding proposal for a library and stadium in Boise.

Jens Alfke / Flickr

The 2020 election is still over a year away, but some of the initiatives that could appear on the ballot are already taking shape.

Report Finds Idaho Wages And Rents Don't Match Up

Jun 13, 2018
Derek K. Miller / Flickr

Despite Idaho’s rural character, the state isn’t exempt from issues of housing affordability associated with more developed regions. A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds a disparity between Idaho wages and the cost of rent.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho House has voted to ban cities from hiking the minimum wage. The bill prohibits local governments from instituting ordinances to raise the minimum wage. It also bans doing it through ballot initiatives.

Supporters of the bill, including Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, say it’s not about wages, it’s about keeping laws uniform across the state.

“When it comes to minimum wage, a patchwork approach is bad policy. Wages in Idaho can’t be resolved adequately by a heavy-handed approach that hurts business,” says Malek.

Jeff Youngstrom / Flickr

In the span of a week, lawmakers in the Idaho House voted to ban cities and counties from banning plastic grocery bags and took up a bill that could ban cities from increasing the minimum wage.

That’s after Hailey residents voted five years ago on a bag ban, and McCall residents voted last year on a higher minimum wage.

Supporters of both pieces of legislation say they're business friendly bills that would keep laws the same across the state.

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

Apr 6, 2015

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.

A panel in the Idaho Senate introduced a bill that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour -- a $2 per hour increase -- by next year. 

Idaho Democrats' plan to raise the state's minimum wage to $9.25 per hour over the next two years might be over before it begins.

Sen. Curt McKenzie, who chairs the GOP-controlled Senate State Affairs Committee, started the hearing Friday by saying he didn't anticipate any more discussions on the bill.

The bill was introduced unanimously with no discussion, mainly as a courtesy to minority party leadership.

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

Idaho Democrats predict more common ground than usual at the state Capitol this year. That’s because Idaho’s minority party leaders say many of the Republican proposals on the table are things Democrats have been pushing -- for years.

Democrats make up only 20 percent of Idaho’s Legislature. House Minority Leader John Rusche says they’re used to their bills not even being printed.

Five of Idaho's neighboring states will ring in the New Year with an increase in their minimum wage. Idaho, meanwhile, hasn't seen an increase in its minimum wage since 2009.

Idaho's wage is the federal minimum, $7.25 per hour.

Not only is Idaho nearly surrounded by states with a minimum wage above the federal baseline, but it's nearly surrounded by states with the highest minimum wages in the country.

The new year will mean higher pay for low-wage workers in Oregon and Washington. The minimum wage in both states is set for an increase.

money, wages
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters won’t be making any new laws when they go to the polls in November. Efforts to get two initiatives on the ballot failed to get enough signatures by Wednesday’s deadline.

The people who wanted Idaho voters to legalize medical marijuana gathered 559 qualified signatures after a year of trying.

housing, map
National Low Income Housing Coalition

An Idaho worker earning the minimum wage would need to work 73 hours per week in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

fast food, kitchen, minimum wage
Gorgeoux / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s share of minimum wage workers declined 0.6 percent from 2012 to 2013 according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The drop means Idaho no longer has the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country; Tennessee has taken Idaho’s spot.

Whatever you already believed about raising the federal minimum wage, you now have more ammo for your argument, thanks to a report released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, titled "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income."

Yes, you're right: Raising the wage in steps to $10.10 an hour by 2016 would push employers to cut jobs — about 500,000 of them, says the CBO, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress.

We’re hearing a lot these days about raising the minimum wage.

Michelle Stennett
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A plan to put more money in the pockets of Idaho's lowest-paid workers cleared its first hurdle Monday when the Senate State Affairs Committee voted to send it forward to a full hearing.

The proposal would increase the state's minimum hourly pay from $7.25 the federal requirement— to $8.50 July 1, then raise it again to $9.75 in 2015.

But Republicans who control 81 percent of the Legislature immediately criticized the plan, throwing its future into doubt.

money, wages
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

A Democratic lawmaker will ask her fellow legislators to sign off on a plan to raise Idaho's minimum wage.

But majority Republicans have largely rejected efforts to hike the minimum wage, even as neighboring states' pay goes up.

Idaho's wage is currently aligned with the federal minimum of $7.25, and hasn't gone up since 2009.

The state currently has the highest number of workers earning the minimum wage in the U.S.

Sen. Michelle Stennett's proposal comes alongside a proposed voter initiative that seeks to raise pay to $9.80.

Washington’s minimum wage would rise to $12 per hour by 2017 under a proposal from Democrats in the state House.

money, wages
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

The minimum wage goes up Wednesday in 13 states. Idaho isn’t one of them, but some of its neighbors are.

Washington and Oregon already have the first and second highest minimum wages in the country at $9.19 and $8.95 respectively. And, effective January 1, the lowest paid workers in Washington must get $9.32 an hour, and $9.10 in Oregon.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said Monday he's against raising the nation’s minimum wage

During a conference call with reporters, Labrador said he understands why those pushing for pay increases for fast food and retail workers are doing so. But he thinks raising minimum wages will hurt workers instead of helping them.

Idaho has the largest percentage of minimum wage jobs in the country. That’s been the jumping off point for StateImpact Idaho’s series examining wages; we’re calling it Bottom Rung.

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