Why Raise the Minimum Wage?

Top Reasons to Increase Workers’ Pay

Low-Wage Workers Are Being Left Behind

The $7.25/hour minimum wage set in 2009 is worth $6.00/hour today. Minimum wage workers are financially worse off now than in 2009 while top earners’ incomes have soared.  more…

1 in 7 Idahoans Live In Poverty

13% of Idahoans lived in poverty in 2019 despite record low unemployment. Anyone working a full-time job should not live in poverty.  more…

Higher Wages Fuel Economic Growth

Increasing the minimum wage will boost Idaho’s economy. Low-income people spend their money.  more…

Higher Wages Reduce Need for Public Assistance

Low-wage workers rely on government subsidies but still run out of money before the end of the month.  more…

The Business of Higher Wages

Companies that pay workers higher than the minimum wage are very profitable. It is good for business.  more…

Low-Wage Workers Have Been Left Behind

In 2009 the minimum wage was barely above the poverty level for one worker with a dependent. Due to inflation, $7.25 is now worth $6/hour.

Actual Minimum Wage vs. Buying Power / 2009 Dollars

Buying power of the minimum wage

Workers Missed Out on Productivity Gains

The minimum wage would be much higher if increases had reflected productivity gains

The inflation-adjusted minimum wage, and hypothetical minimum wage values if they had been increased with average wages and productivity since 1968.

Minimum Wage compare Productivity

Worsening Unfair Distribution of Wealth

Top 0.1% Earnings Grew 15 Times Faster Than Earnings of the Bottom 90%

Cumulative percent change in real annual earnings, by earnings group, 1979-2018.

Top 1% vs bottom 90% income level change

1 in 7 Idahoans Live in Poverty

National Poverty Level 2019 – 10.5%

Poverty LevelPoverty Level (2019)Unemployment Nov-Dec, 2019
State of Idaho13.1%3.4%
Northern Idaho13.3%3.4%
North Central15.3%3.2%
South Central15.0%2.6%
South Eastern13.9%2.5%

Source: https://lmi.idaho.gov/region

Low-Wage Workers are ESSENTIAL WORKERS!

You interact with them! They take care of us!

  • Home Health / Personal Care Aides
  • Substitute Teachers (short-term)
  • Childcare Workers
  • Waitresses, Waiters and support staff
  • Cashiers
  • Retail Salespeople
  • Office and Hotel Clerks
  • Maids / Housekeeping Staff
  • Telemarketers
  • Drivers / Sales Workers
  • Janitors and Cleaners
  • Bartenders
  • Cooks & Food Prep Workers
  • Dishwashers
  • Lifeguards, Ski Patrol & other recreational Workers
  • Exercise Trainers & Fitness Instructors
  • Hairdressers / Stylists / Cosmetologists
  • Amusement / Recreation Attendants
  • Fast Food Workers

Demographics of Low-Wage Workers

Workers Affected (% of entire population)

  by Age Rangeby Gender
Idaho District% of workers16-2425-5455+WomenMen


No wonder young adults and teens still live at home! Workers in their prime earning years barely support themselves, much less save for retirement. Women disproportionately work in low-wage jobs.

Higher Wages Fuel Economic Growth

2019 CBO Estimates (raises 2020-2025)

Increased earnings far outweigh projected job losses.

Millions affected by increase to minimum wage

Compare to Oregon and Washington

Data from states that have increased the minimum wage show unemployment and poverty falling with annual minimum wage increases.

Minimum wage Oregon
Minimum wage Washington state

Fairness for All

Taxpayers are subsidizing businesses paying low-wages with programs like SNAP, CHIP and Medicaid.

Economic research shows: Higher minimum wages “lift all boats”

The American Public Supports Raising Wages!

Opinion Polls Agree – Raising wages to $15 is a good idea!

Morning Consult / Politico
Feb 26 – Mar 1, 2021
Ipsos / Reuters
Feb 25, 2021
Monmouth University
Mar 3, 20221

Higher Wages Reduce Need for Public Assistance

Who Qualifies for SNAP, Medicaid, and CHIP

Check out these realistic Idaho income and budget scenarios. Despite earning more than the minimum wage and receiving government subsidies, hardworking Idahoans are unable to cover the bills.

Single Adult / No Children
Job: Librarian
• $8 / hour

Worker - Librarian

Single Mom with 1 Child
Job: Home Health Worker
• $10 / hour

Worker - Single Mom

2 Adults, 2 Children
Jobs: Retail Sales, Waitress
• $9/hr; $3.35/hr (with tips $7.25)

Worker - Family

Workers Run Out of Money Every Month


Income and ExpensesLibrarianHome Health WorkerSales / Waitress
Annual Income$16,320$20,400$33,150
Monthly Income*$1,360$1,700$2,800
Payroll Taxes$105$130$215
Child Care$0$500$1000
Food (SNAP / Out of Pocket)$315 / $180$465 / $205$925 / $450
Subtotal (What’s left)$1,515 (-$155)$2,825 (-$1,125)$4,975 (-$2,175)


Savings > Impossible

Does not include: Medical, education, services, sick days, emergency expenses, income taxes, and more
* Assumes 51 weeks of work/year

The Business of Higher Wages

Who’s Already On Board?

These Idaho Employers are already paying workers more than the minimum wage. Why? Because it is good for business! They can get the best candidates who are more loyal workers and a more stable workforce.

  • Costco $16  / Feb 2021
  • Chobani $15 / Q1 2021
  • City of Hailey Employees $15 / Oct 2016
  • Idaho Central Credit Union $15 / Q1 2021
  • Amazon $15 / Nov 1 2018
  • Whole Foods $15 / Nov 1 2018
  • Target $15 / July 5, 2020
• Aetna $16 / April 2015
• Wells Fargo $15 / late 2017
• JP Morgan Chase $15 to $18 / early 2018
• Bank of America $17 / May 2019
• Best Buy $15 / Aug 2020
• Temporary Agricultural H-2A Workers
$14.55 / Feb 2021

Raising Wages Pays Dividends!

FDR best customer a well paid worker

~ as true today as it was then.

74 Cities, Counties and States will Raise Wages this Year!


Initiative Launch Decision – May/June 2021 Timeframe