• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 7s

Proposed minimum wage increase generates lively debate at library forum

By Kate McPherson 7:02 AM July 31, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Sitting outside of the Loussac Library Wednesday night, 19-year-old Chris Hase contemplated his next move, having just quit his job at McDonald’s.

“I wasn’t able to pay rent, phone bill, anything like that,” said Hase, who, like many minimum-wage earners, can’t afford to live in Anchorage while earning $7.75 an hour.

“I was working two jobs,” the teen said.

His second job at Subway paid $7.75 an hour, but the lack of sleep caught up with him.

Hase said even a dollar or two an hour more would make a difference in his life.

“I would definitely say you should raise the minimum wage because you can’t live on it,” he said.

Meanwhile, inside the library, University of Alaska economics professor Dr. Kyle Hampton and former state labor commissioner Ed Flanagan debated the pros and cons of a minimum wage increase in Alaska. The forum was hosted by Alaska Common Ground and attended by more than 100 people. Ballot Measure 3, an initiative to raise the minimum wage, will be put before voters at the November 4 general election.

“It’s a total of 26 percent with a two-year phase-in,” said Flanagan, who is chairman of the group Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage.

Flanagan is the prime sponsor of the initiative to raise the minimum wage to $9.75 over two years.

“I think anybody would agree, especially with the cost of living in this state, that that qualifies as a modest proposal,” Flanagan said.

Hampton is against the initiative, saying it could affect job growth.

“It’s not just job losses you should worry about, but a lot of folks have stressed the fact that it’s a lack of job creation, so you may not see direct unemployment but you’ll see a lack of jobs created,” Hampton said.

Flanagan says job losses will be negligible.

“Probably offset by the increase in economic activity engendered by the better spending power of low-wage workers who spend every dime they’ve got,” he said.

Hampton argued someone will have to pay for people to make more money, and he said it’s unlikely to be the business owners.

“What we would like is that Walmart and Walmart’s shareholders pay that cost, or the shareholders of McDonald’s pay the cost, but that’s in fact not going to happen,” said Hampton, who points to a rise in prices for consumers as a potential downfall to the wage increase.

Flanagan and other supporters of the minimum wage increase say the current rate doesn’t come close to assuring people can maintain a healthy standard of living.

 

 

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    Globetrotters coach a UAA basketball coach

    by Dave Leval on Apr 29, 22:03

    It was a mutual admiration’s society, Thursday morning, on the court at Alaska Airlines Center. The Harlem Globetrotters stopped by for an arranged media gathering and in the process also coached the coach. UAA women’s basketball head coach Ryan McCarthy received a few tips from the Globetrotters before deciding whether or not he should join […]

  • Politics

    Could Alaska choose the republican presidential nominee? It’s possible.

    by Liz Raines on Apr 29, 21:53

    It’s an exciting weekend for hundreds of Alaska Republicans at the state GOP convention in Fairbanks. The delegates chosen there could play a key role in the national convention in Cleveland this summer. It all stems from the local party’s last-minute decision to let Marco Rubio keep the five delegates he won in Alaska during […]

  • Lifestyle

    AK Mission of Mercy offers free dental care to those in need

    by Lauren Maxwell on Apr 29, 20:47

    Not everyone likes to go to the dentist, but hundreds of people were feeling grateful after they got the chance to go Friday. That’s because their dental care was free at an event called AK Mission of Mercy. More than 500 people showed up at the Dena’ina Center to get everything from teeth cleanings to […]

  • Lifestyle

    World-class musician tests out Anchorage’s first world-class Bosendorfer piano

    by Heather Hintze on Apr 29, 19:41

    When you have a world-class piano it only makes sense to have a world-class musician test it out. A viewer called KTVA to tell us Classic Pianos, in Government Hill, had its first ever Bosendorfer piano. It’s hand-made in Austria and retails for $125,000. Lithuanian musician Edvinas Minkstimas happened to be in Anchorage for a […]

  • News

    A dedicated crew keeps remote radar site running

    by Bonney Bowman on Apr 29, 19:24

    In Alaska’s most remote corners, 15 Long Range Radar Sites (LRRS) scan the skies looking for threats. It takes a small, but dedicated force to keep these Cold War-era sites up and running. “We’re only 11 pilots here that do this particular job.” Those 11 pilots fly two C12 planes to all the radar sites […]

  • Lifestyle

    The Hungry Chum: Harvest pop-up restaurant is a foraged feast

    by The Hungry Chum on Apr 29, 17:25

    We sat beneath a chandelier made of wine bottles in the middle of the bar. I was eagerly awaiting our eight-course feast. I was skeptical. The tickets sport a $110 price tag, yet I reserved judgment. My dining partner and fellow writer, Wanderer and I were inside Crush, a wine bistro in downtown Anchorage, but […]

  • Lifestyle

    First drug for delusions in Parkinson’s patients approved

    by Associated Press on Apr 29, 15:20

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal health officials have approved an experimental drug to treat psychotic delusions and behaviors that often afflict patients with Parkinson’s disease, the debilitating movement disorder. The drug from Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the first drug for the condition, which affects approximately half of Parkinson’s patients. An estimated 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with […]

  • Sports

    Iditarod bans Travis Beals entry into 2017 race, says it will review regulations

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 29, 11:51

    Musher Travis Beals will not be allowed to race in the 2017 Iditarod, according to a statement released by the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) Friday. Beals will also not be allowed future entry into the Iditarod for an “indefinite period of time beyond 2017,” pending his completion of a court-mandated treatment program. “The Iditarod Trail Committee […]