Congress established the federal minimum wage in 1938. The intent was to help stabilize the economy after the Great Depression. The minimum wage, however, was not intended to be a living wage. And, over time, as everything has gotten more expensive, it is difficult for full-time workers only earning the minimum wage to pay for basic necessities such as food, housing, healthcare, childcare, and transportation. Idaho has not increased the minimum wage since 2009 — that’s more than ten years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, food costs have risen more than 9% over the last year. IIRAH believes that to help ensure individuals can afford food and remain sheltered, Idaho must increase the minimum wage to a living wage.
Equitable Tax Policies
If we want to ensure that all Idahoans are able to support their families and have financial security, we need to update our tax structure to support our communities. We are passionate about legislation such as the Working Families Tax Credit because it has a proven track record of elevating families and ensuring they have the means to pay for essentials like car repairs, groceries, and diapers.
US Hunger, a sister nonprofit organization committed to providing healthy meals to those in need, surveyed food insecure individuals they serve. They found that transportation contributed to food insecurity among 43% of those who responded to the survey. Specifically, these individuals noted a lack of access to transportation for getting to the grocery store to purchase produce and other healthy food options. In addition, a lack of affordable transportation can limit access to food pantries and other supplemental food programs. For example, taking a cab or ride-share service may not be feasible for many low-income individuals.