Minimum Wage On November Ballot
by Betsy Jibben, Reporter
December 07, 2013 7:08 PM
South Dakotans will now see two initiated measures on the November ballot. Back in November, The South Dakota Democratic Party submitted petition signatures to increase the state's minimum wage. Turns out, there are enough valid signatures to require a public vote.
Over the last few months, more than 1,000 volunteers have helped the South Dakota Democratic collect signatures in every county in the state. When it was all said and done, they had just under 21,000 valid signatures in their hands. That put what's now called Initiated Measure 18 to a public vote.
"This is huge confirmation of our volunteers success and we know we're going to leverage that in 2014,” said Executive Dir., SD Democratic Party Zach Crago.
If passed, the measure would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour and cost of living adjustments every year after that. South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Zach Crago says that money would increase employee's earnings by 21-hundred dollars a year.
"A person making minimum wage is making $290 a week. I don't care what part of the state you live in, that's not enough to make ends meet,” said Crago.
Crago says this could affect 62,000 working South Dakotans that are not in a family business or enrolled in seasonal employment. Seventy-eight of them are over the age of 20.
"That's better food you can put on the table for your kids. That's savings for your kids you can put towards schools. That's the car repair you're putting off," said Crago.
But the measure comes with opposition. Some say it will hurt the economy and the consumers, but Crago believes more money in the pockets of hard-working people will go into local businesses to help the state's economy.
"Consumers of course are workers. When we raise wages, they're going to spend money on local businesses and that's what this is about.
Their work isn't done yet. Volunteers will be traveling across the state promoting the measure up until the election.
The group needed a minimum of 15,855 signatures. Crago says if passed, there will also be an increase in the minimum wage for tipped employees.