Linn County’s Board of Supervisors is exploring increasing the minimum wage. The county is home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city. The minimum wage next door in Johnson County is already 95-cents higher than the state’s $7.25 an hour, and will go to ten dollars an hour two years from now.
Linn Supervisors Board chairman, Ben Rogers, says a possible increase in the county will be studied carefully and methodically.
“This isn’t anything that we want to rush,” he says. “We want to convene business leaders, small business owners, non-profit groups. Potentially, even having people who make minimum wage.”
Rogers isn’t predicting consensus, but expects a recommendation to the Supervisors by this summer.
“Because at that time, the legislature will have adjourned,” he says. “We will know the impact of any action or inaction by the State, and we can continue to move forward.”
Rogers says Linn County isn’t waiting for the legislature to act, and what Linn decides may even influence eventual state action.
“To wait for the State, may mean that no action is taken this year, or they may take action that is less than what is being proposed in Linn County,” he says. “So, to wait for the Legislature would mean that we would put off for possibly a number of years this issue. So, we’re taking it on now and perhaps to positively influence the conversation at the State House to take action on it.”
Last fall, Johnson County adopted a resolution incrementally hiking the minimum wage to an eventual $10.10 an hour by 2017.