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Thousands of Low-Wage Workers in South Dakota Will Get a Raise

photo: Minimum-wage workers in South Dakota will get a raise Jan. 1. Photo by GDNS
photo: Minimum-wage workers in South Dakota will get a raise Jan. 1. Photo by GDNS
November 17, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The minimum wage will rise to $8.50 an hour in South Dakota starting Jan. 1.

The South Dakota State Federation of Labor was among the groups that helped get the issue onto the ballot this fall.

President Mark Anderson says the federation sees the wage hike as grass roots, economic development.

"Well, one thing about minimum-wage workers is they don't save much money,” he points out. “They put their money right back into the economy, so anybody that gets a raise, they are going to be spending it, so it should be a help to the economy in South Dakota. If 62,000 people get a raise, that should make a difference."

The ballot issue also indexed the wage to inflation, so low-wage workers will see a cost-of-living increase every year.

Opponents of the wage hike said it would lead to job losses.

Anderson says history doesn't show that.

"Well, I always go back to 2009, which was the toughest,” he says. “The economy was pretty tough then.

“We raised the minimum wage then and we never heard anything about job loss, so I can't imagine that's going to be a problem."

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD