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Do you think the city should set an increased minimum wage for larger businesses?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 8, 2006

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Photo of Maggie Allen

“Yes, just because this is a college town and it’s hard to get by for everyone who is in school and/or trying to pay off their loans.”

Photo of Dan Boeth

“No. I’m concerned that it would mean fewer jobs. If the wage goes up, the company : would simply have to hire less workers to do the same amount of work.”

Photo of Elena Boeth

“Yes. I think it would help people in school and people who are saving up for school. The cost of living is high here, so it would help them pay for that, too.”

Photo of Eric Rice

“Yeah. If people are willing to work at their standards, they should get paid accordingly. Everybody needs more money.”


Linda Aikins 11 years, 6 months ago

Scrooge. I work so much better after I visit here and get some good laughs! There are very clever people here.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 6 months ago

The city isn't butting in genius. Grass Roots Action is.

sublime 11 years, 6 months ago

minimum wage is a joke! They need to raise it so folks can live,or better yet ,get ahead.I think that most businesses need to include a cost of living raise as well.You get what you pay for.If you pay a poor salary,your employees won't work hard.Small checks create bad attitudes.That being said, I know there are some lazy-ass people out there who don't deserve minimum wage .

sgtwolverine 11 years, 6 months ago

I think it's odd to assume that larger companies can automatically afford to pay higher wages without problems. It's an easy assumption, butt it seems a little lazy.

badger: Chairman of the Federal Dodge Ball Administration? Also, when jonas needs a vacation from his duties as press secretary, you can fill in for him by whipping dodge balls at reporters when they get irritating. Or just when they ask any question at all.

thomgreen 11 years, 6 months ago

It's been a long time since I've been in a classroom BUTT (how's that) I do recall pretty much every single economics professor I've had saying that a minimum wage is the wrong way to handle the situation. I don't recall the reasons, and it might have been in a true open market that a minimum wage is the wrong way to go, butt (two in the same post, I'm on a roll!) it still strikes me as government trying to control an issue that they are ill equipped to control. With that being said, I do think that as rich a country as we are, people that put in an honest days work should be able to provide the basic necessities to live. They should be able to buy a decent home (not a McMansion), a decent car (not the newest phat ride), pay all their utility bills and still have a little left over to put in savings.
With that being said, I have to somewhat disagree with the person that said you get what you pay for. In some cases this might be true, butt (ding!) unfortunately, I think it's an overall trend in the work ethic of people in general that has degraded over time. People expect to be paid well no matter what they do. We seem to have this sense of entitlement as a society. Look what it's done for some of our major manufacturing industries. The steel industy absolutely tanked and is just now reviving itself, and the auto industry is soon behind.
So, yes, in theory and in heart, I'm all for a decent minimum wage, butt (score!) I fear it would have a negative impact on businesses and the long term financial health of the town.

ohjayhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Voters here in Ohio just passed a minimum wage increase this past November. I have seen articles where there are many businesses that will be raising their prices to pay for that, butt, fortunately, I haven't seen any articles (yet) about any companies having to lay employees off. I think service/retail businesses will be more apt to raise prices, butt it will be the manufacturing businesses that will be more apt to lay people off in response to an increase.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 6 months ago

I think we should all use the word "butt" in our responses. For example,

"It sounds like a good idea BUTT how do you define larger?" (If the answer is in the article, well, obviously, I didn't read it.)

trinity 11 years, 6 months ago

vous parle un peu...or whatever, lol.

well said-and much more eloquently than i could have. the very word "mandate" frightens me! all the while i have the utmost sympathy for those stuck in dead end jobs. heck, if my children were still at home, my personal income would qualify us for at least some assistance! the bootstrap theory is good, up to a point.

i sure don't know what the answers are...

trinity 11 years, 6 months ago

i was simply replying to the ots question as it was asked, genius.

don't make me not like you, geekin! ;) i generally always have-butt things can change, n'est ce pas?

friday friday friDAY friday friday friDAY! :D

trinity 11 years, 6 months ago

the city really should butt out.

1st! wow! :)

geekin_topekan 11 years, 6 months ago

n'est ce pas? ++++ Je ne parle pas france. Butt seriously folks,I am a little apprehensive about raising anything by mandate.The recourse will be disastrous in my best guess.I understand that GRA is trying to make Lawrence a place where people can live in the town they grew up in and that is noble and gutsy cause but,my fear is that those companies that start at the least amount that they can get away with,having already demonstrated their lack of value in their people,will simply move.Then what? That would make the people that they are trying to help become the butt end of the whole deal. I am no economics major,so,help me out here.

thomgreen 11 years, 6 months ago

"with that being said", twice in one post. Shoot me now. I can tell I'm at work early.
I guess they're not paying me enough to work instead of type posts. = )

trinity 11 years, 6 months ago

impressive, thomgreen! you may just be in the runnin' for the Klondike Bar o'the day! besides-i like&agree with your post. butt who'm i to say?

whaddya think prez?? ;)

and ohjayhawk-sneeeeeeaaaky, lol! :)

geppetto 11 years, 6 months ago

In a free society there should not be a minimum wage. The wage should be set by pure economics or the law of supply and demand.


sgtwolverine 11 years, 6 months ago

trinity, that would be need to be brought up in front of the Klondike Bar Committee. Have we named a chairman of that?

Anyway, I have a problem with the idealism inherent in the idea that an honest job should always provide a decent house, a decent car, and a little bit extra to save. I like the idea, but it seems to clash with the reality that no matter what, there will always be people with more than enough money, and there will always be people with not enough money. Actions like raising the minimum wage might tweak a few numbers, but it doesn't actually do anything to eliminate poverty.

trinity 11 years, 6 months ago

hmmm, nominations for the Klondike Bar Committee? volunteers? victims? :)

sincere question-was minimum wage pretty much, at one time, aimed at young people working? i'm likely way off base, here...does anybody know or have time to research the when&why minimum was brought in to being in the first place?

craigers 11 years, 6 months ago

Increased minimum wage is nice for the people working there, butt bad for the customers since either there will be less people there or prices will have to go up and then with the inflated prices we are back to being at the same place.

More money for people is great butt I prefer to stick everybody in classes. That way we can refer to them as the rich-folk at Alvamar, the po' folk over there, and the normal folk. (jk)

I do agree with sgt though, how come people automatically expect large corporations to be able to afford giving people raises.

Sublime, I have to object to your suggesstion that with higher wages people will work harder. I have learned from working in retail where this would probably impact the most, that people are buttheads and feel like the job is owed to them and they don't have to work hard, no matter how well they are treated.

Do I get a treat for using butt three times?

beatrice 11 years, 6 months ago

I'm more in the all or nothing camp. It shouldn't be just larger corporations that must pay a higher minimum wage, but all companies that have employees should. It needs to go up nationally -- why stick your derriÃre in locally when you can do so nationally?

Oh, and to the employees at Security Solutions -- don't be expecting a raise any time soon.

thomgreen 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree with delegatezero and reticent. Why isn't there a maximum wage. Are you telling me people like Bill Esrey who got paid $1.1 million in salary and nearly another million in bonus (then complained that he wasn't compensated enough) are actually WORTH that much? I agree that that there should be some sort of stratisfication of earnings. Not everyone should get paid the same. Butt (and maybe this is just my own conscious) if I was a CEO getting paid millions of dollars to run a company and my employees can't even afford to buy their own house, something just isn't right. How much money does someone really need? Then again, if I was a CEO making millions of dollars, I might turn into a money hungry whore too.

kramdorf 11 years, 6 months ago

Minimume wage was never intended to be "permanant" wage. It was intended, and is intended to be an entry level wage for non-skilled positions. The way to overcome minimum wage is to work hard and set yourself apart in both skills and performance, and move into higher wage positions. Minimum wage was never meant to LIVE on; so the idea that one should be able to buy a home, car, etc., on minimum wage is completely wrong. Contrary to popular opinion, Lawrence has a glut of rental properties with entry level rent rates considerably lower than JoCo and many other communities. It is simple ecconomics, set min. wage at whatever you set it and that will dictate pricing. Companies will NOT just simply pull those dollars out of existing profits. Here is another mind blower, MOST companies, especially ones with most of the min. wage positions,are not making massive profit margins anyway.

thomgreen 11 years, 6 months ago

P.S. Thanks for the Klondike Bar recommendation butt could I get a cup of hot chocalate instead? It's damn cold out there.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 6 months ago

Increasing minimum wage is not the answer. Craigers, and others, have the right of it. There are those that will work hard, no matter what they're paid, butt then there are those that just slack and expect great things to come to them. Also, I know that if I owned a "larger company," I'd be a fool to not make up that money spent somewhere else (raising my prices), butt that's already been said.

I remember back when I made $3 something an hour, and went to college that I was doing just fine paying the rent, etc. Butt then again, I was working my butt off because I knew that hard work was required of me to get by. Butt I think it's more of a "mentality of our youth" problem.

Basically, I had nothing new to add, butt felt compelled to join in the discussion.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 6 months ago

This is an old family recipe:

Unwrap Klondike bar, place in oven safe dish. Pour a good 1/4 cup of your favorite whiskey over the Klondike bar. Get out the propane torch and light the Klondike bar...butt stand back lest you end up looking like the Mona Lisa. (I guess that mistery is solved!)

Kat Christian 11 years, 6 months ago

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, yes,yes, can't stress this enough.
Businesses need to pay their employees a LIVING WAGE. Meaning for those compassionately challenged people - that people need to earn enough money to be able to pay their basics living expenses and have at the minimum 15% of their annual salary of disposal income use for medical emergencies, (for instance) and/or basic recreational needs. People need outlets to help prevent stress, since stress is one of the leading causes for illnesses, violance and breakdown of the famiy.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 6 months ago

Craigers, I think you should get a Klondike Bar AND hot chocolate for having three butts. SWEET!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 6 months ago

Gootsie...a could you not notice my 6 butts? That's a whole lotta butt to overlook! And, collectively, I've said butt like 10 times now. :)

thomgreen 11 years, 6 months ago

Dammit, I had a really insiteful thought that was going to provide a great viewpoint, then my boss came in my cube and my brain went to mush.

New2Lawrence 11 years, 6 months ago

Why can't we have the best of both worlds. Instead of mandating it, let's give Tax breaks or other insentives to companies that pay a fair wage to there employees. Making it manditory will only result in consumers being forced to pay higher prices and thereby increasing the already out of control cost of living in Lawrence.

craigers 11 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't there a monkey with 8 butts on South Park?

S_S I'm sorry that Gootsie didn't notice all six of your butts so I will hand over the goodies to you. You are buttastic.

ms_canada 11 years, 6 months ago

I would like to put my name forward as Chairperson of the Klondike Bar Association since I live closer to the Klondike than anyone else. Butt then I must admit that meetings with the rest of the committee could be a problem. Could we tele-conference? Minimum wage legislation? I am all for it and believe it should definitely be raised from time to time as it is here in the frozen north as the cost of living increases.

beatrice 11 years, 6 months ago

ss: "I remember back when I made $3 something an hour, and went to college that I was doing just fine paying the rent, etc." Yes, butt that far back, wasn't a double-feature movie, soda and popcorn just a nickel? (I just wanted to beat RI to the punch.)

sunflower_sue 11 years, 6 months ago

Damn, Bea! (just wanted to beat TOB to the punch!) butt you're wrong, was a dime. :)

SpeedRacer 11 years, 6 months ago

Various minimum wage exceptions apply under specific circumstances to workers with disabilities, full-time students, youth under age 20 in their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment, tipped employees and student-learners. These exceptions are often used by savvy business owners to get around the Federal minimum wage. Tightening up on these exceptions needs to be a major part of any local legislation increasing minimum wage. (I am sorry to say Bea and Sue that I remember getting paid much less than that and, the movie was a dime).

sgtwolverine 11 years, 6 months ago

ms_c, you make an excellent point about your proximity to Klondike -- and you included a butt in your nomination. Plus, you'd give us an international presence. The job is yours.

optimist 11 years, 6 months ago

Only one of them had the sense to consider the consequences. The three young people one of which admits to attending an institution of higher education only considered what their rose colored lenses would let them see. What are they teaching them up on the hill if that is how they think?

Basic economic facts demand that if a community (fewer than 100k people) begins to place demands on large businesses that other communities do not place on them they will gravitate away from said community in favor of communities that refrain from placing such demands on them. As a business they will do whatever they can to keep costs down so they can compete against others in the market. The result will be fewer companies coming to Lawrence and instead we can expect them to go to Ottawa, the KC area or Topeka.

Some would say better to have a job than no job. How does that grab them? Next time it might be helpful to phrase the question differently.

:even if it means fewer companies will come to Lawrence resulting in fewer jobs for Lawrencians like yourselves and a poorer quality of life for even more people.

The idea of perfect socialism sounds great to most and I understand that but you have to know that in order for perfect socialism to work everyone has to assimilate. If the fact that over two million people are in jail in this country at any given time is an indication of the potential success in getting everyone to assimilate I find it unlikely.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 6 months ago

Sue, I never miss your cracks. ;) Butt I will gladly give credit where credit is due. You are now the Queen of Butts.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 6 months ago

By the way, I don't know if anyone noticed this, but check out the attitude displayed in the url for today's question:


lawrencejna 11 years, 6 months ago

An employer who believes it's acceptable to start an employee at 5.15 an hour, like my employer, and expects that employee to work hard and earn raises- has likely capped their earning potential somewhere in the 7-8 dollor range. A single collage student with a couple of roomates may be able to scrape by off of this, but those of us with families probably can not. Raising minimum wage will eventually pressure employers to pay those of us who have worked hard, at least a dollor or two above the new minimum wage. That still won't buy me a new car or a house, butt it will keep safe tires on my 10 year old car, and the heat on in my cheap rental.

ms_canada 11 years, 6 months ago

Just thought I would throw in some info about mimimum wages in Canada. Each province is different. The northern territories have higher cost of living, therefore higher min. wage legislation, Nunuvut has $8.50, Yukon & North West Terr. $8.25. The provinces go from $6.70 (New Brunswick) to $8.00 in B.C. the rest in between with most at $7.25. Seem to be a lot higher than your national rate of $5.15. And it makes no difference as to the size of the business or the type of work. You have an employee, you pay them the rate. Work is work. Right????

Bone777 11 years, 6 months ago

Minimum wage is just that. The bottom of the barrel for pay. I liked someones comment about the working harder if you get paid more. I have worked a lot of jobs and it seems the other way around.

The more you make the less you do, butt what do I know.

Government employees are the laziest I have seen.

ms_canada 11 years, 6 months ago

pilgrim - I beg to differ about the involvement of gov. It is the obligation and the job of gov. to be concerned with the rights of the people that they have been elected to serve.. Why else are they there? There are some work situations in which an employer could easily intimidate an employee caught in a deserate situation. Some people are just to shy and weak to speak up for themselves. We look to those elected officials for protection in all aspects of our lives and a living wage is one of those aspects.

Bone777 11 years, 6 months ago

Bea - History lesson. Not a push off, and Big Ben never got into the endzone on his short QB sneak.

Being an ex-college football player, I can tell you that momentum is everything. The refs took the momentum and gave it away, butt I'm not bitter.

No Bus, no love.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda

sgtwolverine 11 years, 6 months ago

Bone, when a defensive player makes the contact that the Seattle receiver made, more often than not it's called. The penalty was a rare incidence of the rules being fairly enforced.

If they want to actually change the rules to state that receivers are allowed to interfere more than defenders, then there's room for complaining; otherwise, that play was one of the few times they got it right. Considering the amount of interference refs allow receivers (especially big names), the injustice lies mostly on the defensive side of the ball.

farmgirl 11 years, 6 months ago

As a state employee I have to agree with Bone777's assessment. I have worked for several places in Lawrence, and have been a state employee for over 10 years. The state seems to have cornered the market on people who believe that they are "entitled" to their jobs, and should not have to work for their pay. I am now fortunate enough to work in a department with mostly hard-working folks, butt that has not always been the case. There are plenty of government employees who do work hard, butt the cliche of government employees not working would not exist if there were not some truth to it.

I think the minimum wage needs to be raised, butt I don't believe it is a city issue, it should be addressed at the state or federal level. Since the Kansas minimum wage is currently the lowest in the nation ($2.65, I believe), maybe the state should consider an increase.

beatrice 11 years, 6 months ago

Bone -- Did you have a little whine with your Super Bowl Party? Good thing us Steelers fans had our Terrible Towels. It made the mopping up of Seattle fans' crocodile tears much easier.

Butt don't worry. Seattle may return to the big game some day and perhaps then, win or lose, they will learn how to react to the situation.

sublime 11 years, 6 months ago

LOL thats cute sue---As for my self I will work harder to get more money and to continue to get more money.Craigers did have a valid point.....

irnmadn88 11 years, 6 months ago

That $2.65 is for service people earning tips...

State/City/Government employess suffer from the stereo type of not being productive in that those employers have protocols to follow in order to terminate their employees. Do you think most people are going to bust their butt to be more productive if they don't have to? Not until someone gets reprimanded for being lazy and it goes in their personnel file...

Kansas is an at will employment state, most of us can be terminated for any reason, at any time.

juscin3 11 years, 6 months ago

I think that they should hike the min. wage up. With the cost of living, the person has to work their BUTT off to pay for things that they need. I remember when I worked in fast food during high school years, I worked alot of hours just to pay for my vacations that I would take during the summer. I literally worked my BUTT off just to have a decent paycheck. Now, I sit at home on my BUTT cuz hubby makes enough for me to sit on my BUTT. I know that not everyone does get to stay at home and sit on their BUTT. Some people have a job where they sit on their BUTTs all day long and get the min. wage amount.
BUTT, anyways, wanted to get my BUTT in on this today. Usually, I don't like to BUTT in, but who cares? Everyone else BUTTs in...right! :)~ Ok, I'm at 10 BUTTs right now. If you include the last one, it makes it eleven. :)~ Do I get a whole box of Klondike bars for that many butt's? LOL

westernksgirl 11 years, 6 months ago

irnmdn88 While Kansas is an employment at will state, most State workers are Classified . .and, it's almost impossible to fire someone once they become "permanent" employees

Linda Aikins 11 years, 6 months ago

Someone's butt isn't working well today, huh R_I. Do you find that when you stand up, the chair stands up with you?

BUTT I digress.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 6 months ago

I was wondering when R_I would rear his courteous, mature, sensitive head. I thought someone had locked him in a trunk or something.

Bone777 11 years, 6 months ago

Bea - I had so much whine at my party, that it is a season later and I still have some left over.

Sgt. - you're right about the call, but consistency is what makes the rules fair. Any given Sunday, that call is hardly ever made. You need only watch the highlights to see the receivers 'getting open' before the big catch.

I will admit, if Hines Ward would have done the same thing and gotten called for it. I would not be making a peep.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 6 months ago

You're very right, bone, that call is hardly ever made, despite its common occurrence. I think they ought to call it every time, but that doesn't agree with the offense-friendly, TV-friendly enforcement of the rules.

I believe TV's negative effects on sports far outweigh its positive effects.

skewed_veiw 11 years, 6 months ago

Minimum wage should be 2.00 an hour+ tips for everyone, from the prez and CEO's to the lowest pooper scooper

beatrice 11 years, 6 months ago

sgt and bone -- one last thing. The Steelers are 6 - 7. Certainly not a great record, but if they could have won just one of those early games (coulda,woulda,shoulda) they would still be in the thick of the playoff picture. They can still end up with a winning record, and there is no disrespect in that.

jonas 11 years, 6 months ago

Economically, a level of inequality is the only thing that offers enough incentive to push the economy forward -- and, in some correlation, our society--

sgtwolverine 11 years, 6 months ago

Okay, bea, you're starting to sound WAY too much like a Lions fan.

I don't think the Steelers are a bad team -- quite the opposite. That's why I was so curious about their stumbles this year. I'm hoping they can put it back together.

Oh, and I don't think Seattle is good enough to get back to the SB. But the question is: will Peyton Manning finally figure out how to win enough playoff games to get even a sniff at the SB?

MJ Allen 11 years, 6 months ago

Maggie Allen? Wait a minuuuute, I know Maggie Allen and that girl is no Maggie Allen. For one she seems too nice. Secondly, Maggie Allen never has opinions on anything and will rarely be spotted on Mass Street. No, no, definitely not.

beatrice 11 years, 6 months ago

Damn, Bob! You are right. I guess living so close to the Cardinals is contagious, and it comes out in conversation. Time to start blaming the refs instead.

james bush 11 years, 6 months ago

Didn't Lawrence already consider a something like $10 minimum wage, or some such proposal, not long ago??

ranger73 11 years, 6 months ago

I definitely think there should be a living wage law. I live in Lawrence, so to exisit in this town I should be paid at least 150K a year. That is what I could live on. Yeah that's the ticket-If grass roots is for getting me 150k a year living wage I'm all for them! I think Micky D's and Sprawl Mart can afford me! Whoo hoo!

Sorry must be Friday...

sunflower_sue 11 years, 6 months ago

Sarge, If I find a way to disable that safety latch thingie in the trunk, maybe I'll try to get RI back in there. He's just very skittish so it's hard to sneak up on him.

sublime 11 years, 6 months ago

Sublime, I have to object to your suggesstion that with higher wages people will work harder. I have learned from working in retail where this would probably impact the most, that people are buttheads and feel like the job is owed to them and they don't have to work hard, no matter how well they are treated.

Good point Craigers--I know a few lazy mofos just like that.Those are the folks that leave at the end of the day just as clean as they showed up.The ones that NEVER sweat.They have a name for those folks don't they?? Oh yes ,brown noser ,or azz kisser,ect.,ect.,ect....

sunflower_sue 11 years, 6 months ago

sublime, are you objecting with your own suggestion?
a little less whiskey on the Klondike bar next time! :)

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