Statewide Coalition to Challenge Elected Officials to Live on Minimum Wage for One Week

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State Senators Joe Bolkcom, Rob Hogg, and Tom Courtney have accepted the challenge

The Raise the Wage Iowa Coalition today will call on elected officials to live on the minimum wage for one week at events in Sioux City and Des Moines. Minimum wage opponents Congressman Steve King, Governor Terry Branstad, State Senator Joni Ernst, and all other Iowa elected officials will be urged to learn firsthand the need to raise the minimum wage by living on a budget of $77 for one week in transportation and food costs. After taxes and housing expenses, $77 per week is all the typical Iowa full-time minimum wage worker has remaining.

“Iowa workers are struggling and our elected officials should take the challenge before opposing the minimum wage,” said Sue Dinsdale, executive director of Iowa Citizen Action Network. “The vast majority of minimum wage workers are adults trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. We are calling on elected officials to better understand what these Iowa families go through by spending just one week living on a minimum wage. They will find out what it’s really like to plan a budget, buy groceries, and manage transportation in Iowa when being paid the bare minimum.”

According to the Iowa Policy Project, 4 out of 5 low wage workers are over the age of 20, 58 percent are women, and more than 4 in 10 have at least some college education. Recently, State Senator Joni Ernst has called having any minimum wage “ridiculous” and said that the current minimum wage is appropriate for Iowans.

“Joni Ernst’s suggestion that $7.25 is enough is an insult to every working Iowan struggling to make ends meet,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Ernst just doesn’t get it; middle class families are working every day just to get by because the rules are stacked in favor of the extremely wealthy, and paychecks aren’t keeping up with expenses. Raising the minimum wage will provide a much needed boost for working Iowans and small businesses across our state. If Joni Ernst thinks the minimum wage is appropriate for Iowans, she should step up and prove it by living on the minimum wage for even just one week.”



The Failure to Raise the Minimum Wage Hurts Iowa’s Families and Economy

Iowa: Once a Leader, Now a Laggard on Minimum Wage