• 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

  • News

    Alaska Gov.-elect Bill Walker appoints law partner as attorney general

    by Rhonda McBride on Nov 27, 1:57

    On Monday, Dec. 1, Bill Walker will leave his private law practice behind to become governor of Alaska. But he won’t be leaving behind his longtime partner, Craig Richards, who will now serve as attorney general. Richards says he took the job because he believes the governor needs a good lawyer. “I was being a […]

  • News

    Thanksgiving travel tales from the Anchorage airport

    by Kate McPherson on Nov 26, 23:27

    Spending Thanksgiving with loved ones isn’t possible for everyone. But for others, taking a flight or two is all it takes to get the family together. At the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Wednesday night, 2-year-old Rachael waited patiently for her dad to come home from the North Slope. Her mom, Melissa Chapman, is happy that […]

  • News

    After power outage, Tuluksak families get turkey donation

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 26, 22:50

    Families that lost tons of meat after a power outage in Tuluksak will now have a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving. The community of nearly 400 went without electricity for an extended period of time following a power plant failure. Because of the warm temperatures, many people weren’t able to keep their subsistence meat frozen. […]

  • News

    ‘Tis the season: 800 Christmas lights on Government Hill

    by Heather Hintze on Nov 26, 22:11

    Residents riding around Anchorage may notice a familiar sight in Government Hill. The lights have been turned on at the Christmas Tree on the neighborhood’s cell tower — a day students at Government Hill Elementary School have been waiting for all year long. The students waited anxiously on the eve of Thanksgiving for the school’s […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Nov. 26

    by KTVA Weather on Nov 26, 19:36

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Skies will be partly sunny for Thanksgiving, but expect to wake up to early morning fog. Southeast Expect clouds to move out as clearing happens from the north to the south. Interior and North Slope In the Interior, skies will be mostly clear with temperatures dramatically cooling off. North […]

  • News

    Farmer’s market in Anchorage offers Thanksgiving alternatives to turkey

    by Lauren Maxwell on Nov 26, 19:29

    Alaskans who want to eat local this holiday season will find plenty to fill their holiday tables. That’s especially true if they are open to some alternatives for the main course. At the Center Market, a year-round farmer’s market inside the Sears Mall, shoppers could be found on the day before Thanksgiving picking up produce […]

  • News

    Anchorage students learn about the godmother of Thanksgiving

    by Alexis Fernandez on Nov 26, 19:23

    Food and family are two of the symbols most associated with Thanksgiving. On the eve of the national holiday, one group of local sixth-graders decided to dig a little deeper. Word-by-word, sixth-grade students at College Gate Elementary School relived history and learned about the past. They put together a presentation about well-known author Sarah Hale, known as […]

  • News

    Injured musher, dogs recovering after being struck by car in Willow

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 26, 19:14

    Willow, Alaska is musher country, a place where residents joke that there are more dogs than people. Dog sled trails weave through the trees right up against the Parks Highway. Six-time Iditarod finisher Karin Hendrickson is familiar with the curve near mile marker 91. It’s where she and her sled dog team were stuck by […]