Iowa's Johnson County Raises Minimum Wage

Date: September 10, 2015

Area small businesses worry about effects.

Johnson County has voted to raise minimum wage across the county to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 in the three separate votes necessary to raise the county’s minimum wage above the statewide rate of $7.25 an hour.

But the move has some local small business owners concerned.

“Small business owners already pay the highest wages they can afford in order to attract and retain good employees,” said Kristin Failor, NFIB Iowa state director. “Most NFIB members pay way above the current minimum wage, but if you mandate the increase, it sets the bar higher for those entry-level employees, and the costs for operating your business escalate. It’s like a balloon, and when you squeeze it at one end—in this instance, labor costs—it can be something that puts them over the edge.”

Johnson County Supervisor Terrence Neuzil supported the increase, but even he worried about the speed at which it’s happening.

“The aggressive timeline also gives little opportunity for city governments to hear from their constituencies to determine if they want to adhere to the county ordinance or opt out,” he told The Gazette.

The wage hike will begin in November and gradually reach $10.10 by 2017. After that, increases will be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

After President Barack Obama proposed a federal $10.10 minimum wage in 2014, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the plan could cost the economy 500,000 jobs.


Related Content: Small Business News | Iowa | Minimum Wage

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