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Johnson County Set To Vote On Symbolic Minimum Wage Hike

Shiranai via flickr creative commons

Johnson County officials are moving forward with a plan to symbolically raise the local minimum wage. The change would just be a recommendation because of state laws limiting local control of the issue.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has been raising the local minimum wage since 2015 to keep up with the cost of living. But last year the Iowa Legislature voided any ordinances that set rates higher than the state’s $7.25 an hour.

That means the county’s plan to increase wages to $10.27 is just a recommendation. But Supervisor Janelle Rettig says it’s a message worth sending to businesses and lawmakers.

“I’m glad we’re doing it and having the discussion and using the power we have, what little, they’ve left us, to promote it,” Rettig said.

Rettig is hopeful that political power will eventually shift in the statehouse and lawmakers will ultimately restore local control on the issue.

“This Legislature won’t be there forever. And our ordinance will be. And I would bet we can get local control back someday,” Rettig said.

In the meantime, Rettig believes the ordinance encourages local businesses to reconsider how they're compensating their workers.

The board is slated to vote on the recommended increase next week. The county’s current voluntary minimum wage is $10.10 an hour.