• 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

  • Lifestyle

    Alaskans: Be bear aware with fish waste

    by Megan Edge on Jun 29, 13:50

    Fishermen, watch where you waste. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is asking you to dispose of any leftover fish parts and pieces in the appropriate areas. Tossing waste in the wrong places can be dangerous for bears and humans, plus it could lead to a fine. “It’s fishing season and folks need to […]

  • Crime

    Teens suspected in kidnapping, robbery attempt in Eagle River

    by Associated Press on Jun 29, 13:50

    Three teenagers are being held on suspicion of kidnapping an Eagle River resident during a robbery attempt. Alaska State Troopers say two of the teens, a 19-year-old and an 18-year-old, are from Wasilla. They say a 17-year-old will be waived to adult status in the case. Troopers say that at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, the […]

  • DayBreak

    Workforce Wednesday: 10 skills to master to impress an employer

    by Daybreak Staff on Jun 29, 12:40

    Getting a job is all about knowing what to do and what not to do in order to get that interview, then climb the ladder, especially as the state’s job force becomes more competitive. Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium’s (APICC) outreach coordinator meets with businesses statewide to get a better feel for the workforce. Martha […]

  • News

    Showing some skin: Army says sleeves can now be rolled up

    by KTVA 11 News on Jun 29, 12:16

    Just in time for the summer heat, the U.S. Army has granted permission for soldiers to roll up their sleeves. Now, commanders may give the green light to soldiers to roll up the sleeves on their Army combat uniforms. The authorization, effective immediately, was signed into action on June 28, according to an Army release. […]

  • DayBreak

    Doctor heals Alaskans with regenerative medicine

    by Daybreak Staff on Jun 29, 11:46

    An innovative treatment that could eventually improve stubborn injuries like tennis elbow and knee tendonitis is now being offered in Alaska. It’s called regenerative medicine. Dr. Matthew Peterson, medical director at Algone Interventional Pain Clinic, said regenerative medicine utilizes the patients own blood to help them heal. Peterson went on to say it processes the […]

  • News

    Turkish PM outlines bombers’ airport attack tactics

    by CBS/AP on Jun 29, 11:39

    Last Updated Jun 29, 2016 3:00 PM EDT Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Wednesday one of the attackers at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport blew himself up outside, giving the other two the opportunity to get inside the building. “When the terrorists couldn’t pass the regular security system, when they couldn’t pass the scanners, police and security controls, […]

  • Politics

    Gov. Walker caps this year’s PFD checks at $1,000

    by Liz Raines on Jun 29, 11:20

      Updated at 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday, June 29 ANCHORAGE — In an unprecedented move, Gov. Bill Walker announced Wednesday morning he’s partially vetoing funding for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend checks this fall – cutting them to $1,000 instead of an estimated $2,000 under current calculations. “The cuts we’re making are difficult, but we’re […]

  • Crime

    Woman who knew victim found in crash says she ‘knew something was wrong’

    by Daniella Rivera on Jun 29, 9:29

    The last time Geraldine Turner saw 30-year-old Jacqueline Goodwin was Sunday when Goodwin spent the night in her home, which used to be an assisted living center. “She would go and come and go and come and go,” Turner said. She said for 14 years, she was like a mother to Goodwin, who didn’t have a […]