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SDDP: Five Good Reasons to Vote for Minimum-Wage Initiative

I don't always reprint press releases, but when I do, it's because they're useful.

South Dakota Democratic Party exec Zach Crago offers—with more evidence and hyperlinks than we ever get from the dreary stream of GOP dreckfive good reasons to vote for Initiated Measure 18, South Dakota's minimum-wage increase:

It’s been 5 years since the last increase in the federal minimum wage - but now South Dakotans have a choice on Initiated Measure 18 to raise the minimum wage on November 4th.

In recognition of this anniversary, here are 5 reasons to vote Yes on 18:

1) States that raised the minimum wage saw faster job growth. According to state by state hiring data released by the Department of Labor, states that raised the minimum wage at the beginning of this year actually saw faster job growth than states that didn’t raise the minimum wage – contrary to the scare tactics of special interest critics.

Everyday South Dakotans get it: Put money in the pockets of hard working people, and they’ll send it on the things their families need everyday. That boosts consumer demand at small businesses and grows the economy.

2) Small business owners support raising the minimum wage. According to a recent scientific telephone survey, 61% of small business owners support raising the minimum wage. Why? The report says,

“Small business owners believe that a higher minimum wage would benefit business in important ways: 58% say raising the minimum wage would increase consumer purchasing power. 56% say raising the minimum wage would help the economy. In addition, 53% agree that with a higher minimum wage, businesses would benefit from lower employee turnover and increased productivity and customer satisfaction.”

Small businesses get it too: Workers are customers. When workers earn more, they spend more at small businesses and boost the economy.

3) Prices for everyday goods continue to rise, but the minimum wage has stayed the same. That means a South Dakotan’s hard earned dollar actually buys less and less for her family. Since the last increase in the minimum wage:

  • The price of milk has increased 21.2%
  • The price of eggs has increased 30.3%
  • The price of cheddar cheese has increased 21.9%
  • The price of gas has increased 44.6%
  • The price of electricity has increased 9.2%
  • The minimum wage has increased 0%.

Too often, South Dakotans are working harder and harder just to make ends meet. Raising the minimum wage will help working moms and dads support their families in the face of higher and higher prices at the pump and in the supermarket.

4) 62,000 South Dakotans will earn more if Initiated Measure 18 passes. According to preliminary data from Economic Policy Institute, raising the minimum wage will give 62,000 South Dakotans a raise. Who are they?

  • 78% are older than 20. These aren’t high school students like special interests will tell you.
  • 55% are women – many of whom are supporting families.

5) Raising the minimum wage lifts people out of poverty – and off of government assistance. A full time worker earning the minimum wage makes $14,500 a year, which qualifies many working families for government assistance. Raising the minimum wage will lift many working families out of poverty and reduce the demand for government assistance. It’s a win win for working families and the taxpayers: working families make ends meet, and the public cost of low wages decreases for taxpayers [South Dakota Democratic Party, press release, 2014.07.24].

Susan Wismer, Paula Hawks, Robin Page, Mark Remily, all you Democratic candidates, if you're looking for stump speech material, this is it. Every speech you make from now until November should borrow at least some of Crago's text. Telling people why they should vote for the minimum-wage increase also tells them how we Democrats support South Dakota's best interests better than Republicans. Vote for Dems, and vote for 18!


  1. Liberty Dick 2014.07.25

    Putting a band aid on a hemophiliac... Can we start treating the problem and not the symptom? Inflation is the problem, not the minimum wage. Yes I understand this is the only way the state legislature can deal with it but as much as I hate the saying we are "kicking the can down the road" again.

    It is time for sound monetary practices. Audit the FED and regularly do it as long as it is still in existence. The problem lies within their inflationary practices that devalue our currency every day. Congress was given the power of to print/coin money and determine the value thereof and now some unelected and unnamed bankers have been given that power. They passed the buck so they could not be held responsible for devaluing the currency. Why would poor people want to vote for someone who has devalued what little they have by say 10% in 4 years? Like many of America's problems it could be solved with strict adherence to the constitution...

  2. larry kurtz 2014.07.25

    incrementalism: it's not just for earth haters, dick.

  3. larry kurtz 2014.07.25

    Sully Country farmers love the idea of putting migrant children and their parents to work at less-than-subsistence wages.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.25

    It is actually Liberty Dick kicking the can down the road, I seriously wonder if minimum wage workers are concerned with global or national economies. Hardly, they want more income to afford basic necessities of life.
    Even with an increase in minimum wage, there will still be many families that will continue to be under the poverty threshold and will continue to need government support.
    Some conservatives are opposing Initiative Measure 18 because they think the minimum wage should be $25 an hour. That is their justification for not allowing a gradual increase in the minimum wage and knowing full well that it isn't going to happen anytime soon and they know it.

  5. Steve Sibson 2014.07.25

    The main reason to vote no is that the minimum wage proposal does not fix the problem of poverty. It needs to be placed at 20 to 30 dollars. Then we can eliminate Obamacare, food stamps, housing assistance, and other welfare programs once poverty has been eliminated. Right?

  6. larry kurtz 2014.07.25

    The main reason to vote no is that the Alpha Center does not fix the problem of poverty. It needs to be placed at 20 to 30 dollars. Then we can eliminate Obamacare, food stamps, housing assistance, and other welfare programs once poverty has been eliminated. Right?

  7. jerry 2014.07.25

    Minimum wage increase is the most important item on the agenda for the coming election. The sooner democrats get on the ball and get rolling regarding their positions, the better. If you want to eliminate food stamps, raise the wage. If you want to eliminate Medicaid expansion, raise the wage. If you want healthier families, raise the wage. It is such a winner and all you have to do to get it is to vote. Simple stuff.

  8. Chris S. 2014.07.25

    Ah, someone holding a flashlight under his face and telling scary stories about inflation. Eeek! This despite the fact that inflation is not currently a problem, and has not been a problem at any time since 2008 (at the very least). Yet some people still obsess about inflation (it's often a weird collaboration of Anti-Fed types and Wall Street rentier types).

    As Paul Krugman noted, the Inflation Menace™ is a zombie lie that refuses to die, no matter how many times the lie is refuted.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.25

    Just when do you expect South Dakota Republicans to raise the minimum wage to $20-$30 per hour? Will it be on the next legislative agenda?
    Obviously you didn't read my post Steve, voting to no on Measure 18 is doing nothing, which Republicans are extremely accomplished at.

  10. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.07.25

    I have some questions. (Keep in mind that these questions are coming from one unable to do more than simple basic math.)

    1. Why don't small businesses raise their wage if they think it's a good idea? Pressure from neighboring small town businesses?

    2. Is continual inflation a new development? I don't recall anything about inflation concerns until the later 1970s. Wasn't DEflation a bigger issue?

    3. Is inflation a ploy that makes it sound like the economy is better than it really is? I had a used 1966 Ford Fairlane, which I thought was incredibly cool. New it cost $3000. Without inflation, would new cars today cost $6000, taking different materials into account?

    Okay, there is my ignorance for all to see. Even though I included the disclaimer about math, I have a hunch that it's really not that much about math. I think the biggest problem with America's economy is the terrible glut of money at the top, leading to the terrible poverty at the bottom. Ergo, higher minimum wage.

  11. mike from iowa 2014.07.26

    Best reason to vote for it is because of who is against it.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.26

    mike from iowa,

    My dad used to say that Republicans don't like an idea, it is probably a good idea for the country. He was an FDR Democrat

  13. mike from iowa 2014.07.26

    Roger-wingnuts are never right,but never in doubt. Your dad was very wise.

Comments are closed.