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Commentary: Does North Dakota need a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour?

(Special to The Forum)

Over the weekend we got news that a group of citizens is preparing a ballot measure that would increase North Dakota’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour over the course of three years.

Currently North Dakota’s minimum wage is at $7.25 per hour, so this proposed measure would roughly double that.

“If we don’t have a living wage in a living state for the lowest people, the neediest people that we have people who are workforce if we don’t have that then we don’t have a living state,” Scott Nodland, one of the measure organizers, is quoted as saying.

It’s not clear from the article how far along Nodland and his fellow activists are in the process. Their Facebook page says they’re still trying to round up sponsoring committee members. I’m working on getting Nodland on my radio show today or later this week.

This would be a major policy change for a state that already struggles to attract investment and business development for a myriad of reasons ranging from our sparse population to the weather. Such a dramatic increase in labor costs is unlikely to help with the cause of diversifying our state’s economy.

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