South Dakota Democratic Party pushes to increase minimum wage - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota Democratic Party pushes to increase the state minimum wage

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Minimum wage workers in South Dakota could get a raise.

State democrats and labor leaders want workers to earn an extra $1.25 an hour.

They believe a wage increase will benefit both workers and businesses.

So they took out a petition and got more than 25,000 signatures to put it on the ballot and let voters decide.

With one final signature, the petition is notarized and will be sent to the Secretary of State's office to be certified.

Once it gets approved, voters will have their chance to voice their opinion at the polls.

And if it passes a vote, minimum wage workers would get a raise in  January 2015.

Supporters say the proposed initiated measure would raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour.

South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Zach Crago said "the average minimum wage worker with this initiated measure will get a raise of $2100 a year.  Just imagine what a worker can do with $2100 extra dollars a year. That's car repairs, that's buying better food at the grocery store for your kids."

Augustana economics professor Reynold F. Nesiba said "all the rest of us are providing subsidies, and they are subsidies that we have to pay, right? And they're subsidies in terms of women infant and children, temporary assistance for needy families, medicaid, because some employers aren't paying the full wage."

Crago said they'll start talking to voters about the measure after the petition gets certified.

And Professor Nesiba recognizes there may be some opposition, but he believes it's better for people to earn more so they don't have to rely on handouts.

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