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If Daugaard Cakewalks, So Does IM18: Majority Support Minimum-Wage Increase

Last updated on 2014.09.11

Nielson Brothers Polling has painted a tough picture for us Democrats with this week's polls. Rounds leads Weiland 43–30, Noem leads Robinson 54–36, and Daugaard leads Wismer 53–29.

But if those numbers mean Robinson is toast and Wismer is cinders, then Nielson's numbers on Initiated Measure 18 mean 63,000 South Dakotans will get a raise at the polls. Nielson finds that 52.1% of respondents support the initiative to raise South Dakota's minimum wage to $8.50 an hour and index future annual increases to inflation. 28.4% say they'll vote no; 19.5% haven't decided.

The yea–nay spread on IM 18 is 24 points, equal to the Daugaard–Wismer spread. Increasing the minimum wage is as popular as Governor Daugaard. Workers, Democrats, you can decide whether you can muster more than a half-cheer for those numbers.

This support reflects (a bit palely, but it's still a win!) the national voters' and economists' support that makes IM 18 smart politics. The minimum wage initiative is rock-solid resistant to personal attacks; now Democratic candidates need to find a way to coattail this issue and others where Democratic values align with voters' values.


  1. jerry 2014.08.07

    The problem is that few can see the correlation between putting someone in office that will actually help them and their families or just not understanding how the system works. This is how Putin gets elected as well from a proletariat that just simply will not go vote for their interests, but think they are by doing nothing.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.07

    How do we rally the proletariat, Jerry?

  3. lesliengland 2014.08.07

    dems circulated the min. wage petitions, not repubs.

  4. jerry 2014.08.07

    For one thing, engage with them. Maybe ask a question like how much do you think you are making a year at your present wage. Here is a hint: They do not know. They know how much they make an hour in some cases, but what that transcends to, they do not know. Next, make sure that they know that the $8.50 per hour means $17,680.00 a year, if they work 40 hours and work every week for the year. Make sure they know the numbers and who wants to prevent them from getting this raise in pay. The way to win is to get all of the people involved. If you call it a survival wage, you make inroads as well.

    What is your opinion on that approach Cory?

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.07

    And Leslie, we need to remind voters of that fact at every turn, and of the fact that Republicans oppose it. Get everyone who supports the minimum wage to vote for Dems, and we win.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.07

    Jerry, I'm all about having those conversations. Problem is, it takes time to have those conversations. Does Rick have time to do that at every café? Can we get more volunteers to lead those conversations? Can we spark those conversations with smart, focused ads?

  7. Jenny 2014.08.07

    Cory, what are your thoughts on the chances of SD voters voting in the min wage initiative?
    I don't think voters will pass it.

  8. Steve Sibson 2014.08.07

    " Next, make sure that they know that the $8.50 per hour means $17,680.00 a year"

    Jerry that means you are no longer living in poverty and can afford your own health insurance?

  9. jerry 2014.08.07

    Exactly Sibson, but only if you are not married in South Dakota. You would still be living in poverty, but maybe not rely on food stamps to survive. If you are married in South Dakota, you would not be eligible for subsidies under the Marketplace insurance and you damn well could not afford to pay Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield a premium either.

  10. jerry 2014.08.07

    There was a post from 96 Tears I believe that state that each county had a democratic leader or something to that effect. Make small business cards that state just that and give them to workers when you see them at a county level by Democratic representatives. Pass them to start the conversation. Rick should be aware as well as Wismer and every other Democrat that is running on how to bring this matter up to the people. What else do we have to sell other than a better wage and the prospect of life giving health care for those who need this the most.

  11. Jenny 2014.08.07

    If I lived in SD, more than anything else, this raise the min wage initiative would motivate me to get out the vote.
    Robinson is nowhere to be seen.
    Wismer can't win against a popular governor.
    Weiland is just Weiland, a nice guy that has never has won an election.
    But the min wage initiative? I hope the dems are out in full force knocking on doors informing them to vote for this measure. This will help so many single working parent families out there that have to work more than one job to get by. SD has a chance to make people's lives better with this measure!

  12. jerry 2014.08.07

    On one side of the card, would be Daugaard. The card would say, "Here is the "here is the governor who wants to keep you in poverty and could care less if you live or die". The other side would show Wismer and it would say "There is an alternative to a death sentence and continued poverty. Vote Wismer for a raise in your wage and for health coverage that could save your life".
    Call such and such to learn more and to get registered to vote. Your future depends on it. (Website information)
    Paid for by jerry and his bro's and sistah's at madville or whoever the political arm will be.

  13. jerry 2014.08.07

    Smart focused ads would be like the one your sparing pal Gordo recently aired. I have to admit, it was funny and well done about the immigration cowardice of Rand Paul and that doofus Rounds. I did not think ole Gordo had it in him for biting humor, but he did a good job of it.

  14. jerry 2014.08.07

    Plus, there is no down side to a raise in wages. It will stimulate main street, for crying out loud. The workers who will get this buck an hour or more wage increase will spend it locally. It is a win win for the business there, for the tax base for the city, county and for the state. Also, with an increase in wages, it may help to remove people from the welfare rolls as well as the needs for food stamps. For the few shekels of difference it may make for a business, the business can always offset that like the restaurant in Stillwater, Minnesota by putting a surtax of .35 on each ticket. Whatever you may say about that, if the guy wants to use that to pay his help more, he should be allowed to do that. If I lived there and it upset me, hey, I can go to some other place for my, as grud would say, taters and gravy.

  15. Steve Sibson 2014.08.07

    So the $8.50 minimum wage will not solve the poverty problem. Would $28.50 do it?

  16. MJL 2014.08.07

    I mentioned this issue today too. The reminder has to be that if you want the minimum wage to pass, you have to get out and vote. Oh yeah, if you don't want Pierre to gut the initiative in January, then you need to strongly consider voting for Democrats. There are two meat and potato issues that democrats have to bring up (and expanding Medicare is a distant third): Education/teacher shortage and minimum wage. From there one can roll into Medicare. EB-5 is only for political junkies.

  17. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.07

    Every member of the Democratic Party needs to marry themselves to MI 18 and make it priority in their campaigns.

    Are there any organizations that are actively pushing this initiative? Are there any groups of minimum wage workers that can be targeted?

  18. Jenny 2014.08.07

    MJL, what you just said - that Republicans could gut the initiative in Jan if it passed. Is that true, and would they dare go against what the voters voted in?

  19. jerry 2014.08.07

    All organizations have workers that are minimum wage. In particular, the service oriented businesses like hotels, motels, food service. The folks you see each and every day are the ones Roger.

    This is a huge gift the republicans have given. When you have nothing to sell, you have to grab a hold of something that will sell and deliver it. Take a look at Wall Drug for instance. The dude's wife thought of free ice water and the rest is history. Speaking of that and other tourist attractions, good places to make contacts.

  20. jerry 2014.08.07

    So, who are the chairs in each county for the democratic party? Where would you find their names?

  21. MJL 2014.08.07

    An initiated measure is just the creation of a law. There is nothing that does not prevent the legislature from creating a new law or writing amendments to alter the initiated measure. I would not put it past them if the business groups put pressure on them. If the vote is close (under 60%). They will feel that they need to save us from the horrible mistake made by the confused voters. (Remember Daugaard's view after the passing of another initiated measure.)

  22. jerry 2014.08.07

    So MJL, in your mind, it is no big deal this initiative to raise the minimum wage, correct? This has always been the rights way of saying that the left is elitist and drives Volvo's. They say that because they know democrats will not get out and fight them at their game. One of the things I admire about Rick Weiland is that he has balls and that is what it takes to win.

  23. jerry 2014.08.07

    I saw something else today that is interesting. Walsh dropped out of the Montana race for senate because of the plagiarism scandal that the dumbass got himself into. Talk about not vetting your racehorse, the dems in Montana stepped in it big time and they will loose a seat that may well have been their's. Reid is gonna have to come to grips with that little ditty and he may loosen the coin purse and present some fightin money to Weiland to try to win a seat out here in the West. Money brings exposure to the airways MJL and that would be very good for the down line team as well.

  24. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.07

    For reference, MN's minimum wage raise is 7 days old. A small café is issuing customer receipts that include a fee next to the taxes on the bottom of it. The notation says "Minimum Wage Fee", and it's 35c.

    A couple other restaurants are taking it directly out of the servers' hide. Any card fees are taken out of that server's tips.

    Public reaction to those businesses is highly critical. The café is in a small touristy town and their business has not suffered. It is more likely to decrease beyond the usual this winter when business will come from locals who know what the cafe is up to.

    There is a movement afoot to pay tips in cash rather than on the card. I like that plan.

  25. jerry 2014.08.08

    Thanks mike from iowa, I found this late last night as well.

  26. Ellee Spawn 2014.08.08

    Getting the word out on minimum wage and getting Democrats out to vote are two of the most important things that need to happen during this mid-term election. It's going to take more than blogging and chatter online to get this done. We have solid candidates running for office this year. Get out there and make sure that you're supporting them financially and with your man hours. Help out with door knocking and phone calls. Let's not sit back and wonder what the heck happened on November 5th.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.08

    Deb's first article shows one employer recouping the cost of higher wages by making servers pay the credit card fee. That's cheap and unfair. Servers don't make the customer's decision to use or the boss's decision to accept credit cards. Employers should either eat that cost, tack it onto dinner, or not take plastic.

    And we all need to accept that we can't get something for nothing. If we don't want to pay waiters a living wage, then we should stay home and cook and clean for ourselves.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.08

    MJL, I dare them. If the legislature does not respect the voters' wishes, we wage all-out ballot-box warfare in 2016.

  29. MJL 2014.08.08

    Jerry- So MJL, in your mind, it is no big deal this initiative to raise the minimum wage, correct? This has always been the rights way of saying that the left is elitist and drives Volvo's. They say that because they know democrats will not get out and fight them at their game. One of the things I admire about Rick Weiland is that he has balls and that is what it takes to win.

    WHAT???? Where did you read this? My point is that I simply would not put it past many on the right to find a way to weaken this initiative if it passes, unless we send a clear message by getting out the vote. This initiative is vital. This is what every single person from Wismer, Robinson, Weiland down to the local person running for state representative. They must coach themselves in the facts of the minimum wage to make the good fight.

    If Daugaard and the GOP win soundly, you think we will see anything significant being done with education? My predication will be to see more of the merit pay scheme that was recalled. The only reason that education got the 3+% increase this year is because it is an election year and Daugaard needs to win re-election.

    Yes, Cory, do think that if it is close there will be people that attempt to make a change to the law. They do not need to get re-elected in 2015. If we can't do damage to the GOP in terms of gaining seats and at least making Daugaard sweat after his gutting education funding, after going to war with the voters and calling them dumb after they rejected his merit pay scheme, after EB-5, and you continue the list on your own, then I think they will see themselves invincible.

  30. jerry 2014.08.08

    I am not trying to quarrel with you MJL. You said "An initiated measure is just the creation of a law." That to me seemed dismissive to the point about activating voters. Of course the initiated measure is the creation of a law, that is what we vote for. You have to be able to sell something to activate the voters to turn out, in this case it would be for the betterment of their bottom line. Think of it this way, what do republicans activate their base with? It works. So you have to sell the voters on something that they can visualize. They don't know Wismer from a biker from Michigan so how you gonna sell her to the public without something she stands for and something that you can see will clearly benefit your situation or perhaps your children's.

    Do you want to know how to win or do you want to clutter the page with all kinds of things that do more to confuse than to make a point. Keep in mind that teachers get a bum rap because they take the summer's off, as that is what republicans think. So teachers get paid for a whole year but only work 9 months. Get elected first and then change the way things are after you get in office.

  31. Jenny 2014.08.08

    I really don't think most South Dakotans are smart enough to vote this initiative in anyway. The ruling GOP oligarchy wants to keep everyone in poverty. They like things just the way there are in SD.
    Just wait, the GOP will probably be putting up some business people's sob story on a commercial about how they won't be able to afford to pay workers the ungodly amount of 8/hr.

  32. mike from iowa 2014.08.08

    We can't get something for nothing,but I would like the same rate of return as the koch bros get for their efforts. They aren't better investors,they were just born filthy rich which allows them the luxury of buying politicians who craft legislation allowing the koch bros to buy more pols and elections. I guarantee you that farming is harder labor than the koch bros have ever undertaken,with a lesser rate of return than collecting interest on dividends.

  33. Think About It 2014.08.08

    The true problem is not continually raising the floor on wages, it is eliminating the gap between the income levels. Raising the minimum wage will not solve any problems if the cost of goods increases to offset the increase while at the same time board of directors vote themselves and their cronies even higher compensation. Somehow there needs to be an enforceable tie between the pay of entry level employees and the president and VP level workers in the same company. Otherwise most wages will always be chasing some imaginary level that will finally solve this problem just like gerbils on a wheel.

  34. jerry 2014.08.08

    The solution would be to unionize. That has always narrowed the gap. Maybe this could be done on a service level for those workers, but for others, it may prove impossible. For those workers, a raise in pay would and should be in order.

  35. Tim 2014.08.08

    jerry, the South Dakota right to work laws make unions all but worthless here, teachers are members of a union, how's that working out for them? Changes in the laws are what's needed and kicking the GOP out of state government is the only way that will happen.

  36. jerry 2014.08.08

    Of course Tim, and how do you begin to rid the state of these vermin that have caused this to begin with? You vote them out. The minimum wage is the place to start as it is easy to understand for voters. If it were not such a threat, why do you think the Koch brothers are here? It is a big deal and can be used to further the cause of democrats if they have the desire to work for it.

  37. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.08

    Raising the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour is not going to lift anyone out of poverty, but it is a start.
    At $8.50 an hour it will give workers a little more expendable income but would decrease or offset their benefits for food stamps and other programs designed to help the working poor.
    Employers will continue to pass their responsibility for a livable wage on to the government in terms of benefits.
    There are people in Rapid City that I know of that make $10 to $12 an hour and still struggle to meet their monthly obligations. You can only imagine the strain that minimum wage workers live under in Rapid City.
    Sibson suggests that $8.50 an hour is not enough and it should be $28.50 an hour, he has a good point, but if the GOP is opposed to the $8.50 how likely would it be that they would support $28.50?
    As long as employers are dependent on the government to pay their workers in the form of benefits, they aren't likely to change. Those employers recognize a good thing.
    A suitable solution is for the government to fine employers the difference in what they have to make up for not paying their employees a living wage.

  38. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.08

    Well, "Think" (could you pick a name instead of a phrase?), paying workers substandard wages hasn't exerted a sufficient drag on those price increases. Why punish low-income workers while we sit around waiting for economic hypotheses to kick in? Pay people good wages; they'll spend that money and help everyone make more money. Plus, it's the moral thing to do.

  39. jerry 2014.08.08

    Tim, maybe the teachers should exercise their union rights and go on strike for higher wages along with smaller class sizes to work with. There is presently a huge teacher shortage because of the low wages. Teachers could just sit this one out and demand higher pay. To not be paid a decent prevailing wage like our neighbor states is death by paper cuts. Put some teeth in that union thang.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.08

    Jerry, before South Dakota teachers can take that action, we will need to repeal or amend SDCL 3-18-10, which prohibits strikes by teachers or any other public employees.

  41. jerry 2014.08.08

    I see that there is a prohibition, but what would they do if all teachers told them to stick it for higher wages? Where would they find the scabs to fill the positions? Just wondering

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.08.08

    That's an interesting question, Jerry. They'd probably line up all the scabs and subs they could... which means that if we're talking an official, organized strike, local chapters would have to work hard to contact subs and secure their solidarity. But we might not even get to the point of having to bring in subs; SDCL 3-18-14 allows the state and school boards to apply for immediate court orders to end a teacher strike.

    But perhaps, Jerry, you are suggesting a more drastic action, a permanent strike in which all 9,000 K-12 teachers quit?

  43. jerry 2014.08.08

    I am thinking you are correct about the 9,000 teachers taking a stand for their future. What galls me is the news I heard about regarding a parking lot in Rapid City that needs the federal government to give $900,000.00 dollars in tax payer money to go to benefit private business. While that is all good and beautiful to help out and generate sales tax for what? Everyone's pockets get lined but not the educators, that seems to me as unfair.

    If the state courts can issue an order to quit, so can the union. If the governor can sit on his behind in New York and blather about how wonderful things are here, maybe they will ask him why our teachers suffer such low wages and poor treatment. Maybe he will have to answer why the states next to us pay their teachers more and why can't he make a budget that has not failed in all of his tenure. I can tell you where a hell of a lot of the money would come from to pay teachers a decent salary, expand medicaid. Talk about a problem solver, that would be it.

  44. JeniW 2014.08.09

    To an extent teachers/educators are "enablers" of their low wages. Most of us purchase items/supplies that will help us on the individual level to fulfill our job duties and responsibilities, but most of us do not purchase supplies for our employer.

    Teachers may get a small allowance to purchase classroom supplies, but most will pay for supplies from their own pockets. Some will even purchase coats, hats, gloves and etc. to have on hand when a student is not dressed for the elements.

    This has been going on for as long as there have been schools. Even my mother taught at a one room country school, bought classroom supplies, and did without, or relied on local farmers to help provide her food supply (she ate a lot of liver.)

    Teachers do not have much power because they cannot strike. But what would happen if teachers stopped purchasing classroom supplies from out of pocket?

    I understand that some teachers receive an allowance to purchase supplies, and there are a few parent/citizen based "booster" type organizations that help purchase classroom supplies, but most teachers end up paying for supplies from out of pocket.

    That is the one thing I have heard most from former teachers is the fact that they purchased classroom supplies. They did not say much about the extra hours that they put in to read and grade papers, or complain about disgruntled students and/or parents, but having to buy classroom supplies was a big thing for them.

    I know that the likelihood of teachers striking by not using their own money to purchase classroom supplies is slim next to none, but I would be curious how quickly there would be some action from the state if teachers stop buying classroom supplies, coats, hat, gloves and etc. for students.

  45. jerry 2014.08.09

    JenniW, teachers are a wonderful gift to society, but they must be allowed to have something in return from that same society that takes so much from them. Teachers are not "enablers" nor are they takers, they are givers and give each of us the opportunity here to express ourselves. What a lonely place this would be with no one able to utilize the keyboards to project our thoughts. Only the religion taught clergy would be able to speak to one another coherently in prose.

    The minimum wage is an issue that could help drive voters to the booth. By doing that, maybe we can seek to increase teacher's salaries while we are at it. That would be the goal. Taxpayers would want to know how all of this could be funded. I say Medicaid Expansion for one. That would bring the necessary funding to the state by doing nothing more than agreeing to something as fundamental as life itself, healthcare. Look no further than the obvious. The goal of the Koch brothers is to stifle any kind of prosperity to anyone but themselves. The last thing they want is for the general public to be educated. They want only their kind to be so they can run the corporations that employ the uneducated that know just enough and are paid just enough to put some food on the table and a shirt on the back. So if teachers were to stop buying the needed classroom supplies for their students, I am afraid the Koch brothers and their ilk would just look the other way while the children go without. Kind of like Scrooge.

  46. JeniW 2014.08.09

    Jerry, by no means do I question the value of teachers. My mother was a teacher, one of my cousins was a teacher, and heck, even my nephew wants to be a teacher. But, I told my nephew not to come to SD, not only because of low wage, but teachers are pretty much taken for granted in SD.

    I used the term "enablers" with misgivings, and with full knowledge that I would be criticized, but as I said teachers have been buying classroom supplies for decades with no tangible returns. The state knows that teachers/educators donate supplies, take that for granted, and figure that if teachers are willing to make the donations, they must be earning enough to do so. Plus knowing that the teachers are willing to donate supplies, the state does not need to provide the supplies. It is a vicious circle. Teachers cannot strike, so they have no power other than their own checkbook.

    I do not count on the favorable vote to increase minimum wage fixing anything for very long, nor as a means to increase teachers wages. When the federal minimum wage was increased to $7.25/hour, I don't think that the pay for SD teachers increased. The majority of the registered voters in SD are Republicans, and will vote that way. SD has been a Republican state for 40+ years, and still the teachers pay continues to be much less than what they deserve.

    Nothing will change unless the teachers themselves do something, otherwise they will continue to be taken for granted.

    So here's the question, who should be paying for classroom supplies? I am going to guess that tax-payers are going to say, "whoa, not me!"

    BTW, when people use Scrooge has an example, they fail to mention that in the end of the story, Scrooge changed. I doubt that the SD state government is going to change in regards to teachers.

  47. jerry 2014.08.09

    JeniW, no way did I mean any critical verbiage regarding enablers other than the obvious. The obvious meaning that teachers "enable" students to not only learn, but to maybe give them the instruments to achieve that with supplies.

    Here is the deal. ALEC would love to see education go "private" with their own brand of teachers and teaching. The republicans (majority taxpayers) think that may be a good thing too, what could go wrong with that? As a business, that business will need supplies and that private business will have to function as a for profit business as well. When the bottom line is found, it will be found with a huge amount of red ink that the republican (mostly tax payers) will have to pony up. In other words, the fix would be in and in order to avoid the state being sued for losses in the partnership, the state would have to go to the taxpayers for the moolah. The next year worse and worse the following. When the contract is over, the state may well be on the road to being bankrupt and forced then to sell its assets like the parks and all other state land to pay the bills. A win win for ALEC and the rest of the hyenas that will feast on the carcass.

    To save the state, teachers must demand higher wages and tell the state to show us the money or they put the National Guard in the schools to teach the kids.

    So, does that answer the question for you JeniW? The taxpayers better be ready to pony up some cash sooner or later.

    Regarding Scrooge, he changed alright after the ghosts beat the hell out of him to force that change. That is what teachers must do to the Scrooge in charge, Daugaard. He only understand force.

  48. JeniW 2014.08.09

    Jerry, thank you, I got it. :)

  49. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.08.09

    I doubt most teachers would be willing to stop spending their own money to help the children. Teachers are the ones who see the little girl, trembling with chill, coming to school in a thin coat on those cold winter mornings. They are the ones who know the 15 year old boy skips school due to shame because he has no pencils, papers or books.

    Teachers are generally a pretty compassionate group and, being eye witnesses to the struggles of the students, teachers cannot pretend that all is well. They really do put students first, as opposed to the politicians in power in SD. People like the Kochs count on the innate kindness of others, and use it as a tool for manipulative purposes. Sociopaths.

  50. jerry 2014.08.09

    Of course, there can be no denying the closeness that teachers have with their students, that is a given and always has been. Except now, the powers that be want even more contributions to the students without raising the ante of the game. The state thinks that this is some kind of gaming enterprise they are dealing with regarding teachers and need to be shown that the house can sometimes loose big time. Each year teachers go further and further down the path to working for the sheer joy of it. This cannot be as the teachers are preparing our youth to take over positions that move the state forward. I have said it before and will say it again, republicans are clueless when it comes to the art of business and the work of governing.

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