North Dakota Doesn’t Need a Patchwork of Minimum Wage Laws


Fast food workers and supporters gather to watch for the live-streamed wage board decision in New York, July 22, 2015. This week, workers in Los Angeles County and Washington, employees of fast-food chains in New York state and the staff of the University of California all heard that they may soon be earning a minimum of $15 an hour. (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

I don’t think we need minimum wage policy. It amounts to a tax on young and low skill labor. Far from helping those at the bottom of the career ladder, it increases the cost of employing them and giving them the job experience and training necessary to move up that ladder.

That doesn’t help them.

Low wage workers don’t need a legal mandate to inflate their wages. They need opportunities.

But not everyone agrees with my point of view on that.

Perhaps, though, we could agree that a state like North Dakota needs a uniform minimum wage policy? And not a patchwork of policies which hinge on which city or county you might live in?

In some states, like Washington, local governments, like Seattle, have implemented their own minimum wage policy. Looking to stop that sort of thing from happening in North Dakota, state Rep. Daniel Johnston (R-Kathryn) introduced HB1193 which does this:

While we may not all agree on whether we should have a minimum wage, and what that minimum should be if we have one, we should agree that the economic interests of our state are best served by stable, uniform policy.

That’s what HB1193 accomplishes.

By the way, I’m not sure the minimum wage is all that popular in North Dakota. Last year organizers behind a proposed initiated measure to raise the wage railed to get the signatures they needed to put the issue on the ballot.