IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Several western states have decided to raise the minimum wage, but many are worried that Idaho isn't one of them. With the need for seasonal help, minimum wage jobs are plentiful, but when it comes down to the facts, economist Will Jensen said the quality beats quantity.
"It's not possible to support a family on $7.25," he said.
The reality of minimum wage labor is why many people have petitioned to raise it in the state of Idaho. If the state doesn't, many are worried that good talent could go somewhere else.
"You might see some of those workers commuting across state lines to jobs that may offer a higher pay," said Jensen.
With little concern from the state in an upcoming legislative session, many wonder if the issue will be addressed. In an interview with Idaho state Senate President Pro Tempore Bill Hill, he explained why he doesn't predict this will be a topic in 2014's session.
"I don't think it would go anywhere at this time. The economy is still pretty fragile, and we're trying to create a business-friendly environment," he said.
This environment would attract more businesses to provide more jobs, which could be a better alternative when people realize that only 4 percent of employed Idahoans work in minimum-waged jobs. But many wonder what would happen if that number rises in the next few years?
"You've got a couple of alternatives. The legislator could raise the minimum wage or you could also let the free market take control of that. If employers are having a hard time hiring someone who has the qualifications they need, they're going to have to raise that wage themselves without action from the government," said Hill.