Augustana economics professor Reynold Nesiba responds to the Democrats' apparently successful petition drive with these numbers on how many South Dakotans will benefit if South Dakotans vote to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour:
Based on EPI’s analysis, South Dakota has 357,700 hourly-wage-workers. There would be 34,163 who would directly benefit from this initiative since they currently earn less than the minimum wage. Another 28,374 earn between $8.50 and $9.75 an hour. They too would also likely receive raises in the wake of this measure’s implementation. That’s a total of 62,538 workers—17.48% of our labor force that will benefit. The total annual wage increase will be over $46 million annually! Those are wages that will be spent in our local communities across the state increasing sales, profits, and sales tax revenue for state and local government.
Who are the workers that will benefit from this measure? Of those earning more, 55.5% are women, 78.3% are 20 years old or older, 86.3% are white, 63.9% are unmarried without kids, 11.6% are married parents, 8.9% are single parents, and 15.7% are married without kids. Fully 45.4% of these workers are employed full-time. Note: the majority are not teenagers [Dr. Reynold Nesiba, comment to Shawn Neisteadt, "Democrats Collect 25,000 Signatures on Minimum Wage Issue," KELOLand.com, 2013.11.04].
Increasing the minimum wage is about paying real South Dakotans for real work. A year from today, vote to pay workers what they and their families are worth.