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New bill proposes to raise the minimum wage

Some Boise lawmakers are pushing to raise the minimum wage in Idaho. Representative Sue Chew introduced House Bill 55 last week which would increase the minimum wage to $8.25 by July 1st. However, not everyone is on board.

The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. The bill would propose a yearly increase of 1 dollar, putting the minimum wage at $12.25 by 2021. But small businesses pushing back because it could affect their yearly profit.

Small business owner, Earl Coffman at Elmer’s restaurant, is empathetic to minimum wage workers, but he feels small business could suffer the consequences. “Everyone is still trying to make the same amount of money as they did before. And, I’m sure the people who make minimum wage want to increase to make more money, it just seems like it’s a never-ending cycle.”

Over the past nine years, the minimum wage has not changed, regardless of inflation. However, our neighboring states have. Local political groups have caught wind of the movement and now vocalizing their support.

Bannock County Democrats are holding a rally on February 6th, advocating their support of raising the minimum wage. Nate Roberts, Chairman of District 29, Bannock County Democratic Party, says, “It can sometimes be hard to identify those who are struggling economically because most people don’t want that to be seen. They go to great lengths to hide their struggles… We shouldn’t have our citizens just struggling to survive.”

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