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David Novstrup Not Reading: Press Covered Anti-Minimum-Wage Arguments in 2014

Accused of undermining the will of the electorate by proposing a bill to alter the minimum wage passed by South Dakota voters last November, Senator David Novstrup says his Senate Bill 177, which would reduce the minimum wage for workers under age 18 from $8.50 to $7.50 and exempt that youth minimum wage from the annual inflation index, merely deals with an unintended consequence that escaped voters’ attention:

“It wasn’t an attack on the initiated measure that was passed,” Novstrup said. “The bill is about addressing an unintended consequence that wasn’t talked about during the campaign to pass the measure. People need to remember that this is just a minimum wage, it’s not what people have to get paid. I would rather address this on the front end than when young people don’t have jobs because of the minimum wage increase” [Bryan Horwath, “Youth Minimum Wage Bill Sparks Fervent Debate at Cracker Barrel,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.03.08].

Senator Novstrup, were you paying attention during the 2014 campaign? Did you not hear all the people talking about the argument that the minimum wage could cause young people and other lower-skilled workers to have fewer job opportunities?

Like the Rapid City Journal:

…forcing employers to pay more to their lowest-skilled employees could lead to less overall hiring, which isn’t good for anyone [editorial, Rapid City Journal, 2014.10.30].

…and the Watertown Public Opinion:

If this measure was simply to raise the minimum wage once, we might have been for it. But it’s not; it’s based on the Consumer Price Index and as that goes up, so does the minimum wage; just like Social Secruity and other CPI based programs. That can lead to unintended consequences from indexing because if minimum wage keeps going up and up every year, eventually entry-level jobs will be priced out of the market [editorial, Watertown Public Opinion, 2014.10.28].

…and the South Dakota Retailers Association:

Experienced workers may not get the raises they deserve as employers are forced to pay entry-level and unskilled workers more each year. Many employers would be forced to eliminate part-time jobs and combine those duties with those of higher skilled workers. Prices will go up for many goods and services — including essentials such as food and clothing — on all families.

However businesses choose to cut costs, the result means fewer opportunities for South Dakota workers. And a wage hike is of little help when you can’t get a job in the first place. We need to focus on expanding job opportunities, and not take steps that hurt employers’ ability to sustain jobs as well as giving back to their community [Shawn Lyons, South Dakota Retailers Association, op-ed, that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.10.16].

…and the ads from SDRA and their business friends [link updated 2023.06.21 to Wayback Machine]:

anti-IM18 ad 2014…and that Sioux Falls paper:

Under the wrong conditions — a time of high inflation, for instance — the automatic trigger in this measure actually could end up costing jobs rather than helping workers [editorial, that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.10.29].

…and the Yankton paper:

This mandate would hurt those it proposes to help,” he said. “It forces entry level wages to increase at the cost of long-time employees. It would create fewer opportunities for South Dakota workers and really only will help 12,000 employees, or 3 percent of South Dakota’s workforce.”

Lyons said that, in his conversation among the 3,800 small businesses his association represents he is hearing the passing of the initiative will force them to increase prices, lay off workers and reduce the benefits they can offer [Shauna Marlette, “Minimum Wage Increase Debated in Local Forum,” Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2014.10.21].

Are we there yet, David? Or do I need to show it to you in your own local paper, too:

Many proponents of the increase say it is overdue and needed to keep up with cost of living increases, while others argue that increasing the minimum wage will do little but cause businesses to raise prices and potentially limit positions [Bryan Horwath, “South Dakota Workers Struggle to Make Ends Meet on $7.25 Minimum Wage,” Aberdeen American News, 2014.10.12].

Please, Senator Novstrup, stop calling voters uninformed (i.e., stupid). We voters heard throughout 2014 the argument you’re repeating now that kids would have fewer job opportunities if we raised and CPI-indexed the minimum wage. We rejected that argument, because it’s a myth. We raised the minimum wage to $8.50 for everyone, including our kids, and we want it to stay there. Now quit disrespecting voters and young workers and tell the Governor to veto your bad idea.


  1. David Newquist 2015-03-08 14:43

    David Novstrup is a nervous wreck. Remember, when he voted against a proposal to have nonpartisan citizens form a commission for redistricting, he said the idea of ordinary citizens involved in such matters of governance made him “nervous.” Imagine how he was reduced to a trembling, twitching mess when 55 percent of those citizens voted to raise the minimum wage. Things were out of control,. Ordinary citizens expressed their will and exercised the power to vote, and that is dangerous and can make one nervous. Remember the Peasant Revolts of 1381 when the ordinary people sought to be freed from servitude, controlled wages, and unfair taxes. Well, this could happen again.

    Mr. Novstrup contends that the dumb clucks voted for the increase in the minimum wage without considering or talking about “unintended consequences.” Those consequences were that if the wage was increased, businesses would not hire the dumb clucks’ kids. In fact, it was talked about constantly. It was the talking point of ALEC, the Chamber of Commerce, the Retailers Association, and other organizations concerned with the care and feeding of peasants. The problem was that the dumb clucks thought it was a crock, the contents of which were spilled on some of them at Saturday’s cracker barrel.

    In his professed research of the topic, Mr. Novstrup apparent y found no studies that indicate that raising the minimum wage has little effect on unskilled and young workers.

    Ordinary people, especially those whose children have worked the sucky jobs offered the young, see it a different way. If a business is such a shaky proposition that it depends on paying below-subsistence wages to operate, perhaps it is just as well if the business closes. It contributes nothing to the community and our children pay through their exploitation to stay in business. ;And who wants to be part of a work force that the state advertises as an economic advantage because it is paid low wages. And who supports the boasting of our low taxes for business, which legislators cite as the reason we have the lowest paid teacher corps in the nation. The dumb clucks see exactly how much concern and interest the state leaders have for our kids.

    But Father Novstrup came to the rescue and said his business has provided for the welfare of 200 young people and his family has put itself out there to save the community and should not be suspected of any self interest in underpaying young people. He invited all the dumb clucks to come to Thunder Road and watch the Novstrups walk on water.

    And so the peasants keep leaving the state without a work force to attract more such businesses.

  2. mike from iowa 2015-03-08 15:03

    So when is a minimum wage not a minimum wage? When pols want to lower it for people under 18. I always understood minimum to be the least,and now I find out minimum is a ceiling,not a floor.

  3. mike from iowa 2015-03-08 15:21

    Kudos to John T at Constant commoner for his excellent broadside against Congresscritter Novstrup.

  4. bearcreekbat 2015-03-08 16:06

    It looks like Sen. Novstrup is being intentionally deceitful, is discombobulated or is simply disconnected with recent historical reality.

  5. Les 2015-03-08 16:44

    bear@ “Sen. Novstrup is being intentionally deceitful, is discombobulated or is simply disconnected” Just another “Fortunate Son”, bear. “If you’re not part of the solution son, you better be part of the problem” Dad Al along with the likes of our nationally infamous Jason Gant amongst a large handful of Rounds veto proof senator’s proved their moral compass many times.

  6. larry kurtz 2015-03-08 17:37

    Isn’t this really about protecting political cronies from paying living wages to migrant workers living under serfdom in CAFOs and dairy operations?

  7. Bill Dithmer 2015-03-08 19:58

    Not to many really great story tellng song writters anymore. It seems like you need a guide just to understand what the song is even about. We never had that problem with CCR, you knew not only what the story was but why it was being told. Great memories.

    Here is another great story teller.

    The Blindman

  8. Roger Elgersma 2015-03-08 20:11

    So now teenagers will be able to take jobs away from single moms who decided not to get an abortion. When I was young men got paid more since they had a family to feed. This unlevel playing field will mess up a lot of stuff. This is not equal pay for equal work. It is a joke.
    Most of those teenagers are good workers. After all, those kids grew up in South Dakota values. Now most of the good teens will be penalized because of a few bad teens. But the rich Republican businessman does not see what happens to the poor when he just writes a law to benefit himself.

  9. Donald Pay 2015-03-08 20:18

    Is this guy out of touch with reality or just an ordinary liar? Either way he seems to me to be unfit to hold office.

    He assumes that the same folks who elected him were somehow deficient in understanding the issue, yet he seems to be the only one who wasn’t paying attention. If the voters couldn’t understand this simple issue, then they certainly couldn’t understand all reasons why they voted for him. Maybe he should resign.

  10. Jana 2015-03-08 21:28

    I wonder if the sponsors of this bill cleared it with the “2nd Floor” and if the “2nd Floor” will admit to green lighting this bill as a favor to the powerful SDRA lobby?

    David, jump in here, you don’t have to take the heat all by yourself.

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