Rep. Steve Zaiser introduced HB1414 which would have mandated annual increases in North Dakota’s minimum wage indexed to inflation as calculated by North Dakota State University. It was debated on the floor of the House today and voted down by a 24 – 70 vote.

Here’s video of the floor debate.

Zaiser and fellow Democrat Rep. Bill Amerman both spoke in favor of the bill, citing the need to help the needy. “There’s always a segment of the population that needs their government,” said Rep. Amerman. “They need us to bump them up a little bit.”

But Rep. Rick Becker, who carried the bill out of committee, made the key argument noting that the minimum wage inflates labor costs which, in turn, makes entry-level jobs more scarce. If you’re a young or low-skill worker it’s harder to get a job when the government keeps inflating the minimum amount businesses can pay you.

Far from helping young and low-skill workers, it hurts them by making fewer jobs available.