The minimum wage in North Dakota definitely needs to be raised, but those pushing for the change...
- Are shooting too high. They need to learn their lessons from the 2016 North Dakota election. They should take a look at the measure to increase the cigarette tax from 44 cents a pack to $2.20 a pack. The hope was the higher tax would decrease smoking in the state. That measure burned out, and was overwhelmingly defeated by 23 percentage points.
Of course the cigarette tax in North Dakota is too low. Only three states in the country have lower cigarette taxes. The trouble was backers of a higher cigarette tax asked for too much of an increase. Perhaps they were motivated by neighboring Minnesota's cigarette tax of $3.04 a pack. However, this is not Minnesota. They should have asked for a more reasonable increase, something like making it $1 a pack. By asking for too much, they got nothing.
This brings me back to the minimum wage push to get to $15 an hour in North Dakota over three years. That would be comparable to states such as California. However, North Dakota is not California. The North Dakota minimum wage is an obscene $7.25 an hour, the lowest amount allowed by federal law. North Dakota is just one of 14 states with that low a minimum wage. It's been stuck at $7.25 for an embarrassing nine years.
So, there's no doubt the minimum wage should be increased in this state. However, a realistic figure to shoot for here that voters might approve would be $10.25 an hour. If they try for $15, they will get nothing. Just like the cigarette tax.
- If you were ever a resident or a student in Massachusetts or Maine, please send me an email. My email address is at the bottom of this column. Clyde Allen of Moorhead and myself are organizing the first ever Patriots' Day party in Fargo-Moorhead. People from those two states will be invited. Patriots' Day is a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine that commemorates the start of the Revolutionary War. It should be a national holiday.
- One of the most overused, redundant and unnecessary words used by the media is "complete." For example, I heard a sportscaster say the ballgame was a "complete sellout." I heard a news reporter say a home was "completely destroyed." There's no need for the words "complete" or "completely." There's no such thing as a partial sellout or a partially destroyed home.
I am completely done with this column.