Attempt to raise minimum wage in Utah doesn't gain traction

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • btammy 84201, UT
    Aug. 27, 2015 12:42 a.m.

    I remember the first time I moved to Utah. I could get a decent apartment for around $500.00. Now, everything's close to a thousand. It seems that there's a lot of issues and concerns with minimum wage - perhaps we might focus our attention on reducing the cost of living instead. Sure, as more and more people move to Utah homeowners and landowners alike and looking forward to the payoffs but the payoffs come at a cost and that cost in the long-run is not going to be good for anyone. Just some food for thought. I mean, I just responded to an article about the meth problem here and it makes one wonder. At $7.25/hr at 40 hours a week that's just barely enough to pay rent. With a child, cost of daycare, food, and other basic necessities (toilet paper, and laundry detergent) perhaps one could get another job and work 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Crying out loud. Where has our humanity gone and when has currency replaced it?

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    March 11, 2014 4:41 p.m.


    California has to dubious distinction of being recognized as the "Worst Run State" in the entire country for three years in a row. It boasts the worst S&P credit rating of any state in the union and 2nd worst Moody's credit rating. Its debt per capita is 18th highest in the country. California has the 2nd highest unemployment rate and the 18th highest percentage below the poverty line.

    Utah, on the other hand, has been in the top 5-10 best run states while California was dragging the bottom. Both Moody’s and S&P gave Utah their highest credit ratings because of the state’s strong fiscal management. Utah's is among the states with the lowest unemployment and the lowest percentage below the poverty line.

  • Ann Amberly Greenbelt, MD
    March 8, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    @ lost in DC
    Value is as value does. We don't pay stay-at-home moms a dime, and yet I would argue they add more value to the economy than you do. What the market values is not what is truly valuable. What is counted in the system of national accounts is not all that matters.

    The most important job creators are consumers, not producers. People trying to live and raise their children. Where there is demand (depending on the resource), supply will rise to meet it. Your riches are given you so that the needs of your brothers and sisters can be met--because they are truly and really your brothers and sisters in God.

  • neece Logan, UT
    March 7, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    Back in my day, "minimum wage" places were like fast food, some grocery chains... they weren't "career" jobs... they were more jumping off jobs to new and better. But with the Economy the way it is, A job is now a job. People even with College Degrees are having to "suck it UP' and just try anywhere to get a job. So with this in mind, I think they should raise the minimum wage. I know this will hit "mom and pop" stores, but what do we do? It took my husband of 55 years old over a year to find a job and then it was a "shop Boy" He used to work for a Major Mining operation, could drive just about anything,also an electrician... had to take what ever he could. My other sons took over 6 months to find a job. What else can we do?

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    March 7, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    I'm glad that Utah's representatives are thinking about this critically, and not just jumping the gun or reasoning with emotions or short-sighted ideals. There really is a lot to a matter like this.

  • Clifton Palmer McLendon Gilmer, TX
    March 5, 2014 7:50 p.m.

    I realize that this article deals with the Utah legislature's view on minimum wage, but I have something to say about minimum wage on the national level:

    The Federal government exists because the States created it via the Constitution in the late 1700s. When they created it, they created three distinct branches and gave each branch certain specific powers -- then, via the Tenth Amendment, said in effect "We have given the Federal government certain specific powers. If we had wanted it to have more powers, we would have given it more powers. If we ever want it to have more powers, we will amend this Constitution to give it more powers. Unless and until we do, any power that we have not specifically given it is denied to it, and retained by us, either in our capacity as States, or in our personal capacity."

    Nowhere in the Constitution and its several amendments does it say "Congress (or the President, or the Federal courts) shall have the power to prescribe a minimum wage" -- therefore, any and all Federal minimum-wage laws purporting to apply to workers other than those in Federal employ are null and void on their face.

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    March 5, 2014 5:08 p.m.


    A lazy google search shows that Utah and California average income is very close. One or the other being ahead depending on the year. Where did you get your info? (yours might be better than my 15 second google searc..)

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    March 5, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    Kora -

    No, CA's debt-to-GDP ratio is about the same as Utah or Texas. Your understanding is a myth perpetuated by conservatives - our debt is large numerically because our economy is huge. Further, an individual in CA actually makes more money than a Utahn or Texan so we're better positioned to pull ourselves out of debt. Finally, we pay more in federal taxes than we receive whereas UT receives more than it pays so CA literally pays to keep Utah operating. We're far more independent and productive than a state like Utah.

    Raising minimum wage does not create money, it circulates money in a manner wherein the money generates more market activity via multipliers.

    Finally, look at the types of jobs being "moved" to conservative states. They are manufacturing, call centers, etc.... Businesses aren't moving there b/c there aren't enough educated workers in conservative states, we're offshoring. Conservative states have essentially become the 3rd world nations for liberal states - we ship our remedial jobs to you guys which will help you in the short term but it's a race to the bottom so you'll all lose eventually.

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    What about those poor people with some skills making anywhere from 11.00 to 15.00 an hour? Minimum wage jobs ARE NOT for supporting a family. Minimum wage SHOULD NOT be about a LIVING WAGE for a mother and 3 dependents (classic sob story).

    There are plenty of semi skilled jobs that are paying 11 - 20 dollars an hour. I know. I have had multiple jobs in the tech industry (IT, computers, media etc) that pay above minimum wage and don't require college education at all. However, average mcdonalds qualified person could not come close to performing my job. Not even close. And this is not even a job that requires a college degree!!!

    On top of this there are many jobs in other industries that are paying well for those who are motivated to show that they can get the job done!

    If a high school kid can learn your job in less than 5 hours then please, don't ask for a wage increase, increase your skills. Become proficient in something, become qualified. Why is an expert paid more than a non expert? You know why.

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    March 4, 2014 6:27 p.m.

    Stalwart- Isn't California one of the most indebted states in the US? It seems more likely that they will be looking for a federal bailout a lot sooner than Utah. Why is it Conservative cities are not the ones going bankrupt? How is the economy in Stockton, Ca. I recently read that people in San Francisco are angry that housing prices are being driven up to record high levels and that a lot of residents there cannot afford to actually live there. How can this be in your little utopia?

    How can raising the minimum wage create money? Simple answer, it can't. It can only redistribute wealth.

    Here is the reality. States with ten most conservative economic policies are seeing the highest growth in the nation with regards to businesses moving in and expanding. Why are the foreign auto makers building their cars in California or New York or anywhere in New England? Why is Tesla looking to build its batteries outside of California, and looking at Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico, all fiscally conservative states?

    How many rich people "hoard" their money? The overwhelming majority invest it or spend it.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    March 4, 2014 5:30 p.m.

    Podicus – Ha, it could be a misspelling or perhaps you don’t merit the "r" from a statistical standpoint. Further, I took your inquiry re: my credentials as a rhetorical one; am I to understand that should my economic bona fides best yours then my position is automatically deemed more valid?

    Again, you are egregiously cherry-picking. The quote you use says, in it’s entirety, "[i]n the long term, that reduction in the workforce lowers the nation's output and income a little, which means that the income losses of some people are slightly larger than the income gains of others." Translation: the richest Americans will have slightly less excess money to hoard away because it will actually be in the marketplace being used in commerce by the poorest Americans. Include dollar multipliers and the long term is net positive while also reducing the deficit. Why the omission? What do you have to lose by telling the truth?

    lost in DC - Let's make a deal: when you and your state are actually self-sufficient and no longer rely on my federal taxes to function then you can callously deride folks for spending other people's money. Deal?

  • Discombobulated Centerfield, UT
    March 4, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    Let the guys on the hill live on mininum wage for a year and we'll see what song they sing

  • Jimmytheliberal Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2014 3:44 p.m.

    Only in Utah would the Legislature balk at raising the minimum wage. "Family values" at it's best! Take a serious look at what was done in San José and San Francisco. Simple investigative journalism would prove this correct instead of relaying on lobbyists for any answers.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    March 4, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    Who would pay Chevrolet prices for a Yugo? Who would pay Lexus prices for a Chevy Cruze? Who would pay filet mignon prices for hamburger? Who would pay Payton Manning money for Jordan Wynn? (sorry, Jordan, hope your shoulders fully recover).

    No one, yet those in favor of hiking the minimum wage are requiring we do just that. There needs to be VALUE associated with wages, make your labor more valuable and you will command higher wages

    Don’t confuse liberals with facts that contradict their deeply held beliefs, especially when they are being so charitable with other people’s money.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    March 4, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    Stalwart, I'm sorry you never learned to spell. I'm disappointed you dodged my question about your economic credentials. And I'm sorry you didn't look further into the CBO's analysis.

    The gains you quote are only predicted for the short term - the first year the minimum wage increase would take full effect. Raising the minimum wage is a way to try to temporarily boost demand. "In the short term, that increase in demand raises the nation's output and income slightly, which means that the income losses of some people are slightly smaller than the income gains of others." Like most such Keynesian moves, these boost a few economic indicators temporarily but are harmful over the long run. "In the long term, that reduction in the workforce lowers the nation's output and income."

    Other measures are out there which can address poverty while actually assisting with long term economic growth. Political opportunism is the only possible reason to spurn these and favor what is in essence an economically unwise and morally unjust punitive tax on those willing to employ low skill workers.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 4, 2014 12:41 p.m.

    "The free market should determine by supply and demand of workers what wages should be. "
    That's how it worked during the age of the Robber Barons, AKA "The Gilded Age" back in the 1800s. Employers could exploit the desperate and needy, giving them a take-it-or-leave-it wage offer as low as they wanted, and no one could do a thing about it. The working poor lived in hovels then and their children wore rags. Do we really want a return to those glorious days?

    For all his failings, Henry Ford understood that minimum wage gets minimum work. When he raised wages to an unheard-of high, his workers were able to buy the products they made. It also gave him loyal employees and allowed him to select from the best applicants available.

    Job creation isn't a factor of pay scales. Companies hire people according to the work they need done in order to maintain sales and productivity. No one is going to close his company because he has to pay living wages. He'll adjust prices accordingly as will his competitors.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    March 4, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    Aren't the people who are really concerned here, the major shareholders, largest stockholders, the folks sitting on the board? But those who have more money, who can see why they ought to stay with Wyatt's Widgets, will be saving their company in not leaving for something better, because Mr. Wyatt is paying them something better. They are invested in Wyatt's Widgets, in its success. And less turnover costs Wyatt less in training, too. Just as importantly, his employees are spending money in their community, not likely to be using public assistance programs (now that money is helping truly needy folks) and the local economy is strenthened by companies like Wyatt's whose empoloyees are also supporting it. Those places will be hiring, folks--they have more customers, you see. Which reminds me...did you see anyone from the million-dollar side of town in your local shops lately? Spending money? Standing in line, next to the guy or gal from the local Big Box Store who works most days as a cashier there? Thought not!

  • lket Bluffdale, UT
    March 4, 2014 11:32 a.m.

    you cant have it both ways if you pay an adult a low wage they can not live on it, so they will need aid. most of the top earning companies have people making less than 10 dollars an hour. thus they need food stamps etc. if you paid them higher maybe they could do some king of upward mobility, but the the profit margin goes down. but more money would be in the econemy no matter what else anyone says.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    March 4, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    Podicus - Wow, talk about cherry-picking your data. From the very same page you quote from on the CBO's website, it states that "heightened demand for goods and services that would result from the minimum-wage increase." And the final findings state that "[o]nce the increases and decreases in income for all workers are taken into account, overall real income would rise by $2 billion" which includes "moving about 900,000 people, on net, above the poverty threshold" and 16.5M people who would have higher wages. The only sector wherein real income decreases is for people earning 6x or more the poverty threshold. If you have to use half-truths to justify your position, what does that say about your argument, Podicus?

    Eliot - Salt Lake is a great place for jobs but it is propped up by federal funds paid for by Californians and the LDS Church (think CityCreek). Like Podicus, you can cherry-pick a single data point but the more apt comparison are the jobs and quality of life in conservative, anti-worker states vs liberal, pro-worker states. When you do this comparison, there is only one outcome: liberal states are better, more productive.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    March 4, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    @one old man

    Sure, let me Google that for you.

    Federal minimum wage has been raised 39 times in U.S. history (source: Congressional Budget Office).

    Percentage of people living in poverty was at 15.1% in 2011, the last year for which data is available (source: U.S. Census Bureau). This is the highest percentage since before WWII (source: U.S. Census Bureau). In that time period, Federal minimum wage has been raised 19 times (source: Congressional Budget Office).

    In terms of pure number of people, poverty is at all-time high of 46.2 million people in the U.S. (source: U.S. Census Bureau). This is even higher than it was during the Great Depression.

    So as you can see, there is no evidence that raising the minimum wage improves poverty, and it is highly likely that it actually contributes to poverty by decreasing purchasing power. Not sure where you're getting your "evidence" but it's wrong.

    Any other questions I can answer for you?

  • Eliot Genola, UT
    March 4, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    Oh Stalwart, perhaps it is you who missed a few homework assignments. Here is one for you to try tonight: check out the median home prices in San Francisco/San Jose and compare them to the median prices in Salt Lake City. Now that San Francisco has such a reasonable minimum wage there must not be any poor in the city and everyone has a nice home in Pacific Heights, right? As far as job markets go, the reports that I see indicate that San Jose and Salt Lake City have very strong job markets with a ratio of one job posting per unemployed person reported for both cities.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    March 4, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    Twenty-eight states raised minimum wages in the four years prior to passage of the last federal minimum wage increase. Economists from Cornell and American Universities, writing in the Southern Economic Journal, found no associated reduction in poverty rates.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    March 4, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    "In a comprehensive, 182-page summary of the research on this subject from the last two decades, economists David Neumark (UC-Irvine) and William Wascher (Federal Reserve Board) determined that 85 percent of the best research points to a loss of jobs following a minimum wage increase."

    - Forbes

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    March 4, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    "...This would have a chilling effect on us as employers...".


    How do people expect employers to make pay for all their toys if they're giving their money to employees?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 4, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    Brave Robin, may we see some documentation for your claim? There is very strong evidence that the opposite has been true.

    Pablito, the effect of increased minimum wages has been shown to have very little effect on prices businesses much charge their customers. For example, for McDonald's to raise minimum pay for their workers to $15 per hour, they'd need to raise the cost of a Big Mac meal just 4 cents.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    March 4, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    Raising the minimum wage doesn't help poverty. Hasn't helped the previous 39 times we've done it, won't help this time.

    It's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Opposition to raising the minimum wage proves that Utah isn't insane.

  • Pablito South Jordan, UT
    March 4, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    "...there would be more money to feed into the economy with a higher wage."

    Um...if the government increases how much you have to pay someone, a business owner has to shift money from one output to another. How is that feeding more money into the economy? Instead of allowing the business owner to grow the business and expand and deciding what to do with their profits (creating more jobs, helping out suppliers by buying their products), you are forcing them to give it to someone else and let them decide what to do with that money. You didn't create money! That's called Re-Distribution of Wealth. Something that people want so they don't have to work. My bad. That's what I get for working hard and EARNING what I have. My mind has become foggy on the concept I guess.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    March 4, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    We need to do more about poverty. But those with actual data, rather than anecdotes, know that raising the minimum wage does more harm than good.

    Stalwart, what are your economic credentials? Do you know more about economics than the nation's top professors and experts, the vast majority of whom advise against wage controls?

    The Congressional Budget Office reported last month that a national increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 would "reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers" and that "just 19 percent of the [increase in wages] would accrue to families with earnings below the poverty threshold, whereas 29 percent would accrue to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold."

    Things like the Earned Income Tax Credit are effective antipoverty measures, raising the income of the working poor using funds from broad-based revenue sources rather than raising the wages of tertiary wage earners in well-off families by punishing companies which hire low-to-mid skills workers. An increase in the minimum wage is effectively a punitive tax on anybody willing to offer low-skills workers a job.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    March 4, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    Joemamma - If that's your understanding of "economics 101" then clearly you slept through your economics courses. Or, if you were actually taught that in college, then I'd demand my money back if I were you b/c you've been fleeced.

    It is nearly undeniable that the best jobs market in the country is the San Jose - San Francisco peninsula and most of our cities have passed ordinances raising the minimum wage within our city limits. The same "business" owners proclaimed that it'd have a chilling affect on hiring, etc... but it was all nonsense. We were the best place to find a job before raising the minimum wage and we're an even better place to find a job now.

    We are proof positive that what Utah's lobbyists are saying is patently false. The DesNews could do some investigative work and provide actual data on the pros/cons of raising wages based on cities like San Francisco or San Jose rather than lazily relying on lobbyists for sounds bites.

  • Dante Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    Maybe not in Utah, but nationally, the push for raising the minimum wage is partly driven by the labor unions. When the minimum wage increases, laborers and their unions demand raises to keep their wages x percent higher than entry-level jobs paying minimum wage. As laborers' wages increase, their union dues increase, bringing more money into the unions' coffers, which they in turn give to Democrat candidates running for office.

    Raising the minimum wage makes no economics sense, but it does make political sense for the Democrats. It's perverse and underhanded, but that's politics.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2014 6:42 a.m.

    "Attempt to raise minimum wage in Utah doesn't gain traction"

    Your headline is misleading. Raising the minimum wage is _very_ popular in this state and has plenty of political traction. It's our increasingly out-of-touch legislature that's balking.

  • Joemamma W Jordan, UT
    March 4, 2014 5:46 a.m.

    Why is it that people do not understand simple economics 101?
    Government should not be in the business of forcing wages. All that does is force inflation and take the unskilled young people out of the noncompetitive for jobs.
    The free market should determine by supply and demand of workers what wages should be. If we inflate wages that will also cause the cost of goods to go up and it will also cause all wage levels to increase as well thus putting the people at the bottom of the wage ladder back in poverty wages regardless of making $10.25 an hour.
    How dumb can people be??
    If the government stopped illegals from entering this country and stop paying people for not working would be a step in the right direction instead of raising the minimum wage.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    March 3, 2014 9:54 p.m.

    I think it's just sad. God made this entire rich planet for all his children and 95% enter this world to poor parents and never have a dime to thier names in many countries.

    This country is on the same road as the other 3rd world countries where a few have all the wealth and believe they earned it. Well be proud of creating a universe and a world all by your 5% selves. Clean a toilet once in a while while you are "earning" all that wealth.

    It's not trickling down.