A piece of legislation was introduced last week by House Rep. Matt Erpelding D-Boise. The ask is simple but audacious in a state like Idaho. Raise the minimum wage.
The minimum wage bill (HB72) seeks to raise the wage in Idaho from $7.25 up to …wait for it…..$8.75 ($4.35 for tipped workers) by July 2017 and up to $12.00 ($7.35 for tipped workers) by 2019. This would immediately impact 27.8% of children in Idaho. Gem State kids deserve this. Almost 30% of children in this state have at least one parent working below the poverty line.
If the argument that teenagers don’t need a raise resonates with you, well, we are here to tell you that teenagers make up the smallest percentile of those working a minimum wage job. Adult women make up 48% of the minimum wage workforce.
Young people are leaving Idaho after they graduate high school in an exodus to find jobs that pay a living wage but Idaho lawmakers, believing alternative facts no doubt, say that people are paid higher here and stay in state because of the great offerings we have for working folks.
While obstructionists don’t want to support Idaho families, crony politicians in the statehouse are trying to get tax cuts for the rich. The corporate tax cut bill (HB67) proposed by Mike Moyle, R-Star, benefits the top 16% richest people in Idaho. Put another way, if you make $400,000 or more you are going to benefit. Moyle condescends his co-workers while speaking on the floor in support of his own bill and insults working people across the state.
Despite his arrogant performance on the house floor, Feb 2., Moyle’s tax cut bill passed 58-11. While we watch the fallout of Trump’s horrible plans play out nationally we can’t forget that we have our own swamp dwellers here at home.
This bill provides no relief to the working class, on average working families will get approximately $32 of relief a year. Crumbs to the poor. We can do better for working families in Idaho by raising the minimum wage and stop prioritizing tax cuts for the richest people in the state.