On This Labor Day, Let’s Consider a Livable Wage in Bonneville County (and Idaho)

Today is Labor Day. It’s a day to reflect on the hard-won battles of the past. Humane working conditions. A guaranteed minimum wage. Workers’ rights.

We’ve made a lot of progress since the early 20th Century. But just because we’ve made good progress doesn’t mean things are ideal. We like to think that hard work equals a good living. Unfortunately, these days hard work doesn’t even guarantee you can provide the basics for your family.

Some of the coming battles in the fight to improve conditions for America’s families include family and parental leave policies and a move toward a livable wage.

Idaho’s Low Cost of Living Doesn’t Mean It’s Affordable for Workers

We like to think that Idaho’s low cost of living makes it more affordable than other places to live. And for some of us, that’s the case. I moved back to Idaho Falls to be near my family after my divorce. My income goes much further in Idaho Falls than it did in Philadelphia.

However, not everyone has my advantage: Not one penny of my income comes from Idaho-based sources. In addition to my work for a remote fintech startup, I freelance. My rates are on par with the national market. But if I had to rely on the pay common for Idaho Falls? There’s no way.

According to 2015 data from the Census Bureau, the average annual per capita income in Bonneville County is $23,926. The national average per capita income is $28,830.

The average per capita income in Bonneville County is about 17% less than the national average. According to City Data, however, the cost of living in Bonneville County (as of March 2016) is only about 11.7% less than the national average. So, our lower cost of living still isn’t low enough to make up for the fact that our wages are even lower.

Idaho is a great place to live. However, for many, it’s difficult to thrive.

Minimum Wage Jobs Don’t Pay a Livable Wage

Pointing to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, state senator Cherie Buckner-Webb recently wrote that Idaho is in the top five (percentage-wise) for workers earning the federal minimum wage or less. This is not a badge of pride. Too many of our jobs here in Idaho pay minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.

MIT offers a look at what constitutes a livable wage in Bonneville County

As you can see, even if you are working and paying for yourself only, Idaho’s minimum wage doesn’t do the job. If you have a family, it can be difficult for a single earner to provide enough to live on in any sort of comfort. Many families require two breadwinners, and it’s unfortunate that some workers have to hold down more than one job to make ends meet.

The sad truth is that it’s possible to be working — and working hard — and still be homeless in Idaho Falls.

If we want to see a better quality of life in Bonneville County, and in Idaho overall, we need to work toward a livable wage in this state. This might include letting cities set their own levels. On top of that, it can also help to improve the education level in the state. Buckner-Webb points out the following:

Reams of articles have been written about the thousands of high-paying jobs in Idaho that go unfilled every year because we lack an educated work force – whether it’s with four-year college graduates, community college graduates, certificate holders or apprentices.  Companies are not interested in bringing good-paying jobs to a state that ranks nearly last in education investment in the nation.

Our new community college will hopefully help efforts to move forward. A bigger investment in our community and our people can go a long way toward building a better Bonneville County — one where hard work actually helps our citizens get ahead.

Bucker-Webb also cites a survey of Chambers of Commerce from around the country indicating that business owners and CEOs support a higher minimum wage. Taking it a step further, and focusing on a livable wage, could mean more money circulating in our communities. It could also mean a better quality of life for many of our struggling citizens.

Here in Idaho, we say we value hard work. Now it’s time to put our money where our mouth is.


 

Miranda Marquit HeadshotMiranda Marquit is a freelance financial journalist and money expert. She has a keen interest in politics and social justice and is excited to share news of interest to citizens in Bonneville County. Miranda enjoys reading, the outdoors and spending time with her son. She writes at Planting Money Seeds and Progressive Mormon Mom.

11 Thoughts to “On This Labor Day, Let’s Consider a Livable Wage in Bonneville County (and Idaho)”

  1. Darrellstoxy

    Get up tо $ 20,000 реr daу with our рrоgram.
    Wе аrе а teаm of expеriencеd progrаmmers, wоrkеd mоrе thаn 14 mоnths оn this рrogram аnd now еverything is rеadу and еverуthing wоrks perfeсtly. The PaуPаl systеm is very vulnerаblе, insteаd of nоtifying the developers оf РaуPаl аbout this vulnеrаbilitу, we toоk аdvаntаge of it. We actively use оur prоgram fоr pеrsоnаl enrichmеnt, tо shоw hugе аmounts of monеy on оur accounts, we will nоt. you will nоt bеlieve until you trу аnd аs it is not in our intеrest to рrоvе tо yоu thаt sоmething is in yоurs. Whеn we rеаlized thаt this vulnеrability саn be used mаssivelу without cоnsеquеnсеs, we dесided to help thе rest оf the peoрlе. Wе deсided nоt tо inflаtе the priсe оf this gold progrаm and рut а vеry lоw рriсе tаg, оnlу $ 550. In order for this рrogram tо bе avаilаblе to a lаrgе numbеr of рeорlе.
    All thе details on our blоg: http://www.comune.montecatini-terme.pt.it/servizi/menu/menu_redirect.aspx?url=https://www.pinterest.com/pin/690387817853172742/

  2. Scottgug

    Hello! I’ll tell yоu mу methоd with all thе dеtаils, аs I stаrted earning in thе Internet frоm $ 3,500 рer dаy with the help of sociаl networks rеddit аnd twittеr. In this video you will find mоre detailed information аnd also seе hоw many millions hаvе eаrnеd thosе who hаve bеen working fоr a уеаr using my methоd. I specifiсаllу madе а vidеo in this capacity. After buуing my methоd, уou will understаnd whу: http://www.tiquicia.com/ads/images/150/adredir.asp?url=https://vk.cc/8jfmy3

  3. Hey there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally
    suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  4. Keep on working, great job!

  5. Hello, just wanted to say, I liked this post.
    It was practical. Keep on posting!

  6. Frankvox

    What do you think about it?
    This person is selling the secret of eternal youth: http://make-money-online-amazon69880.aioblogs.com/7879785/the-best-side-of-anti-aging-academy

  7. Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a
    lot of spam remarks? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can advise?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support is very much appreciated.

  8. Can I just say what a comfort to uncover someone that
    truly knows what they’re discussing on the internet.
    You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More people ought to check this out and understand this
    side of the story. I can’t believe you are not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.

  9. I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also pay a quick visit this blog on regular basis to take updated from newest gossip.

  10. This article gives clear idea designed for the new viewers of blogging,
    that actually how to do blogging.

Leave a Comment