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Posted on September 20, 2016 at 11:20 AM by Amy Johnson
To quote Chair Ben Rogers, Sept. 12 was a historic day for Linn County.
On Sept. 12, the Linn County Board of Supervisors approved raising the minimum wage in the county by a $1 a year for three years, effective Jan. 1, 2017. That means that by Jan. 1 of 2019, the minimum wage in the Linn County will rise to $10.25.
The ordinance will apply within the unincorporated areas of the county and within any city or portion of any city within the county that does not enact a conflicting ordinance.
While Linn became only the second county in Iowa to take this step, it was memorable for me for other reasons.
Over the past few months, I learned that around 18,400 people who live in Linn County currently earn a mere $7.25 per hour. More than 80 percent of those individuals are adults. And many of those adults are parents, who juggle several jobs to meet the basic needs of their children.
As you might imagine, many of these families also rely on some sort of public assistance just to get by.
The board heard from many people during the course of our deliberations. Some small business owners told us how difficult it would be for them to absorb this increase. Others told us that the cost of their products would likely go up if they had to pay their workers more. Still others told us that those who earn a minimum wage should work harder and advance to a higher paying job.
We also heard from one young mother, who used to earn a minimum wage and struggled to make ends meet. She said that she would gladly pay 50 cents more for a hamburger now if it meant a little more independence for another hard-working, single parent.
That’s the moment I will never forget.
Congratulations to all of the minimum wage earners in Linn County who will soon benefit from this historic measure. I’m so grateful to have had a small role in it.