Economic Opportunity in Iowa
Suppressing wages, limiting injury recovery:
A triumph of ideology, spin and brute political power
Local push for minimum wage increases survive as strong statement


The Iowa Policy Project released the following statement from Executive Director Mike Owen following Governor Branstad’s signing of legislation to repeal and pre-empt local decisionmaking authority on the minimum wage, and legislation to limit recovery by workers for workplace injuries.

“Today, we recognize a triumph of ideology and spin over substantive discussion, collaboration and fact. Working families will be worse off because of both of these bills signed today by Governor Branstad.

“With a stroke of a pen, the Governor can take away authority of local officials. With another stroke he can hurt vulnerable Iowans who have been hurt on the job. It is likely, however, that Iowans will note the courage of elected supervisors in five counties to act when their state Legislature and Governor could not find the will. These public servants’ respect for the fact that higher wages boost local economies, and affirmation of the role of public policy to advance fair play, will long survive this chapter of corporate dominance at Iowa’s State Capitol.

“The Governor ignored solid economic and demographic analysis to slash wages for thousands of Iowans — potentially for more than 85,000 Iowa workers through 2019. He gave cover to disingenuous and sparsely defended arguments made in the House and Senate to justify attacks on workers' rights that were hatched behind closed doors. Iowans deserve transparency and accountability, and a meaningful seat at the table in policy development. These were denied.”

The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research and analysis organization based in Iowa City. Reports are available at

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