Idaho House Introduces Three Minimum Wage Bills

On January 25, 2019, three separate minimum wage bills were introduced in the Idaho House: House Bill 50 (H0050) by State Representative Ilana Rubel (D – Boise), and House Bills 54 (H0054) and 55 (H0055) by State Representative Sue Chew (D – Boise).

House Bill 50 would remove a section from the Idaho Code that prohibits local governments from establishing higher minimum wages than determined by the state. Essentially, it would allow each city council to determine what is the appropriate compensation for low-productivity or entry-level employees.

House Bill 54 would remove a section from the Idaho Code that currently allows employers to pay a lower minimum wage ($4.25) to employees that are under the age of 20 during the first 90 consecutive days of employment. This bill will mostly hurt young job-seekers that lack previous work. Employers will disfavor those job-seekers because not only will they need to be trained, but they will be required to be compensated at a wage that is greater than his/her production.

House Bill 55 seeks to incrementally increase the minimum wage in Idaho each year from the current rate of $7.25 to $8.75 for 2019, $10.50 in 2020, and $12.00 in 2021. Similar wage increases would also occur for tipped employees. Following these increases, and starting in September 2022, the director of the Idaho Department of Labor would then obtain the power to adjust the minimum wage each year.

In order to pay for these higher wages, businesses have a finite number of ways to react in order to continue turning profits. They can employ fewer people, reduce employee hours, or raise the price of its goods and services. All of which will end up hurting the very people minimum wage is intended to help.

These proposed bills revive a classic example of government short-sightedness and a lack of understanding of both individual liberty and basic economic principles.

[Click here to contact your legislators.]

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Madison Liberty Institute’s recommendation: OPPOSE

Bill Details

Number: H0050 (2019)
Text | Statement of Purpose

Sponsor: Representative Ilana Rubel (D – Boise)

Co-Sponsor(s): Senators Grant Burgoyne, Cherie Buckner-Webb, Maryanne Jordan;  Representatives Sue Chew, Mathew Erpelding, Jake Ellis, Elaine Smith, Sally Toone, Rob Mason, Steve Berch, Chris Abernathy

Bill status: House Ways & Means Committee (01.28.2019)

Number: H0054 (2019)
Text | Statement of Purpose

Sponsor: Representative Sue Chew (D – Boise)

Co-Sponsor(s): N/A

Bill status: House Ways & Means Committee (01.28.2019)

Number: H0055 (2019)
Text | Statement of Purpose

Sponsor: Representative Sue Chew (D – Boise)

Co-Sponsor(s): Representative Chris Abernathy

Bill status: House Ways & Means Committee (01.28.2019)