Four Iowa counties see minimum wage hike, statewide rate stays at $7.25

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DAVENPORT, Iowa - Some counties in Iowa are seeing a minimum wage increase for the New Year. Linn, Johnson and Wapello counties higher wages are already in effect as of January 2, 2017.

Polk County will rise in April but where does that leave the rest of the counties in the state?

Some restaurant workers in Davenport think wages should be raised statewide, not county by county. They say it will help the state thrive as a whole even though these workers don't rely on minimum wage.

Servers in Davenport don't count on minimum wage to pay the bills but want to see it increase for those who do.

“I definitely think minimum wage needs to be raised because everything else has been going up in price for so long and minimum wage hasn't,” says Sarah Savala.

Right now some counties in Iowa have a higher minimum wage than others. That’s because counties can choose how much to pay employees.

“The counties that can't afford to pay minimum wage no one is going to want to work there they are going to travel to counties where they can make more money hourly,” says Kimberly Brannen.

As of January 1st, the minimum wage in Cedar Rapids and all of Linn County is $8.25 an hour.

Iowa City and all of Johnson County is $10.10.

In Ottumwa and the rest of Wapello County it's $8.20.

In Des Moines and throughout Polk County it will grow to $8.72 an hour in April.

Shaking up wages by county could get complicated. Some lawmakers think a boost in the minimum wage should be a statewide decision because businesses could face problems with a county by county hike.

“Possibly jobs could be driven out of this area if the minimum wage were to be raised,” says Barrel House General Manager, Jennifer Plate.

“It would be nice for it to be state wide because then it you couldn't have the conflicting or trying to compete,” says Landon Hall.

“I mean you always want to go where you're making more money,” added Savala.

The last time Iowa raised its minimum wage to $7.25 was almost a decade ago. Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 and will reach $11.00 dollars per hour in July 2017.

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