SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO-AM) - The South Dakota Democratic Party has launched a petition drive to put an increase on the state's minimum wage on the ballot. Several labor unions have jumped on board to support the effort. They're proposing a hike in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour.
South Dakota AFL-CIO president Mark Anderson says, "South Dakotans believe in hard work. The South Dakota work ethic is just part of our DNA. But for many working South Dakotans, the minimum wage hasn’t kept up with the rising cost of housing, food, and gas. When CEO pay has never been higher, raising the minimum wage promotes fairness for working families who want a shot at the middle class.”
Why can't Democrats and their allies have a discussion about wages without sowing the seeds of envy and bitterness? The pay of CEO's in South Dakota is irrelevant since the backbone of the state's economy is agriculture and small business.
If Mr. Anderson is truly concerned with rising prices, then he ought to quit supporting Democratic candidates and their failed strategies. The policies of President Obama have slowed the recovery by strangling small business owners with more regulation and uncertainty. A forced increase in state wages will add insult to injury by raising prices and reducing jobs in our state.
A local small business owner, Bruce, visited with me about the impact he's experienced due to increases in the minimum wage. The money he once used to reward superior workers is now spread among all employees. As a result, his top performers actually earn less per hour today than they did five years ago.
Bruce has gone four years without any increase in his own take home pay in an effort to keep prices down. If the minimum wage was increased, Bruce would have no choice except to pass the additional cost on to costumers.
Democrats always act as if the money for wage increases is growing on trees. However, the consequence of arbitrarily raising wages has a very real and negative effect on small business and the economy.
Greg Belfrage is heard mornings from 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM.