While the minimum wage in Iowa continues to stay at the federal minimum, yet another surrounding state is taking steps to help citizens try to pull out of the grasp of poverty.

The minimum wage in Illinois is already $8.25, a dollar an hour more than in Iowa. However, legislation has passed that would raise it by a dollar next January, followed by 75 cents the following year, then a dollar a year for five consecutive years, ending on January 1, 2025. At that time, the minimum wage in the Land of Lincoln would be $15.00. The Illinois Senate passed the bill last week and the House followed suit on Valentines Day. After the announcement, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said,

Today is (a) resounding victory for the 1.4 million Illinoisans who will soon get a hard-earned and well-deserved raise. After nearly a decade of delay, I applaud the House and Senate for passing a living wage with the fierce urgency this moment requires. Phasing in the minimum wage over the next six years will put $6,300 a year into the pockets of nearly a quarter of our state’s workforce and billions of dollars into local economies in every corner of our state.

Every surrounding state, except Wisconsin, has a higher minimum wage than Iowa.

Illinois: $8.25
Missouri: $8.60
Wisconsin: $7.25
Minnesota: $9.86
South Dakota: $9.10
Nebraska: $9.00

Iowa's minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 for at least 11 years. Since 2008, Iowa and New Hampshire are the only two states that had a minimum wage of $7.25 (in 2008) and haven't raised it since. That's pathic. Just look at how prices have changed since 2008:

  • The combined price of groceries up 32 percent
  • Healthcare up 43 percent
  • The Consumer Price Index in the U.S. has gone up 16 percent in that time.
  • Overall wages have gone up 13 percent.

29 states now have a minimum wage above the mandated level of $7.25 per hour. It's time for Iowa to add to that number.

I can hear the arguments already. 'A minimum wage job isn't supposed to be permanent. If people bettered themselves, they wouldn't be making $7.25 an hour.' Hooey. Anyone who works a 40-hour week should make enough money to survive. The living wage in Iowa is $10.89 per hour or $22,651 per year. At $7.25 per hour, the annual wage is just $15,080.

Let 2019 be the year the state of Iowa starts working toward better wages for so many Iowans.

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