To the editor:
It is time for Lawrence to investigate its authority in using the home rule to raise the minimum wage. Raising the wage in Lawrence to $10.10 per hour could be the most important and most effective economic development action ever taken by a Lawrence City Commission.
While Lawrence economic development activities have always been focused on creating new, good-paying jobs, the simplest way to improve wages — and local spending — is to raise the minimum wage and then peg it to inflation standards.
For good or bad, Lawrence’s economy is focused on low-paying service jobs. Thousands of Lawrencians work full-time for below-poverty level wages. Raising Lawrence’s minimum wage will help these earners by generating more disposable income. That income will almost instantaneously be pumped back into the local economy through additional expenditures. Those expenditures will drive sales tax revenue, create additional profits for local businesses and create a long-term economic stimulus for the city.
There are real benefits in raising the wage: more money for those on the low end of the wage spectrum, more local spending, more tax revenue and a reinvigoration of the local economy. Plus, no tax increase is needed to quickly help the city in helping its own.
The time is now. Raising the minimum-wage will boost the economy, improve the lives of Lawrencians, increase tax revenues and help the city reclaim its rightful place as the progressive capital of Kansas.