It has been more than a month since an effort to boost Idaho's minimum wage was introduced in the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee—and it still hasn't received a public hearing.
The measure proposed by Ketchum Democratic Sen. Michelle Stennett would see Idaho's current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour increase to $8.50 by July of this year and $9.75 in July 2015, with incremental increases tied to the U.S. government's consumer price index.
Stennett's proposal met some Republican opposition with GOP lawmakers arguing that raising the minimum wage might be a job killer.
But Bloomberg News reports that the facts don't support that argument. Case in point: Washington state.
Bloomberg reports that in the 15 years that followed Washington's 1998 referendum to raise the minimum wage to $9.32 per hour—the highest in the nation—job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percent above the national rate. In fact, Bloomberg reports that jobs at Washington's restaurants and bars, which are closely tied to minimum wages, expanded by 21 percent. Additionally, Washington's poverty level trailed national numbers for at least seven years.