Alaska House Democrats today told reporters that they will not support HB 384 that would increase the state’s minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $8.75 and then to $9.75 per hour in 2016. It would then remove the subject from legislative action with an annual recalculation of the numbers based on the cost of living.
If you think you’ve heard of that before, you have. It’s the same as a citizen’s initiative set to appear on this year’s ballots. It will likely win by a really large majority.
The House Republicans decided they needed to pass their own bill to take the question off the ballot. Especially since so many non-GOP people like it. Getting it off the ballot will remove the incentive for a lot of voters to go to the polls in August – leaving at home also their non-GOP votes on other issues and candidates. Based on legislative action, it will then allow the legislature to re-open the subject during next year’s session. If it’s on the ballot it must remain untouched for two years.
R’s are biting the bullet here for what they see as a payoff later.
Democrats think it’s better to have the question on the ballot, and they aren’t behind the GOP plan. If the legislation has any value, they’re right; but how can they vote – or act – against it? I doubt if any of those precious few politicians would get re-elected after being associated with this headline: “Democrats Turn Down Income Hike For the Working Poor.” It’s regrettable D’s, but that’s what’s on the way. If you have to write a press release to explain your goofy vote, you better have the bumper stickers already printed. The R’s have done that by getting behind it.
It’s far better to support the bill you hate so that you can claim credit for passing it, save the cost of an advertising campaign and do away with the outside risk of its losing at the polls.
The Senate R’s didn’t sound too excited about considering the question, so there’s a chance it won’t pass.
But that headline will remain.