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Vote Now in New DFP Poll: Do You Support Cutting the Minimum Wage for Kids?

Vote now in the latest Dakota Free Press poll: Do you support Referred Law 20, which would cut the minimum wage for young workers?

Senator David Novstrup sponsored this wage cut in the form of Senate Bill 177 in 2015. Senator Novstrup and his dad, Rep. Al Novstrup, voted to reduce the minimum wage for workers under 18 from $8.50, the new minimum wage approved by voters in 2014, to $7.50. The Novstrups and their Republican colleagues also voted to exempt this separate youth minimum wage from the annual cost-of-living increase that voters approved in 2014. Governor Dennis Daugaard signed SB 177 into law in March 2015; I petitioned to save kids from that pay cut in 2015 and put it to a public vote in this year’s general election as Referred Law 20.

Voting Yes in this poll and on the ballot means you want to cut the minimum wage for workers under 18 from the current $8.55 to $7.50 and remove the cost-of-living increase for that separate youth minimum wage.

Voting No in this poll and on the ballot means you want workers under 18 to receive the same minimum wage as adult workers—$8.55 this year, $8.65 next year, and so on with annual cost-of-living increases.

Vote now, and tell your friends—we’ll poll until my alarm clock goes off Tuesday morning, when we’ll discuss the results over breakfast.

While we vote, let’s also discuss the political impact of the youth minimum wage on Legislative races. David Novstrup was sensitive enough to political backlash over his sponsorship of the youth minimum wage that he called me a liar for calling his bill an affront to the voters. David chose not to run for reëlection, but his dad Al switched from the House to campaign against me for the Senate seat. Many voters I talk to share my disgust at both Novstrups’ disregard for the will of the voters expressed in the 2014 minimum wage initiative vote.

Do you think voters will reject Referred Law 20, and do you think such rejection will carry over into rejection of candidates who supported it, especially in District 3, which supported the minimum wage hike more strongly than the statewide electorate?


  1. grudznick 2016-10-23 12:30

    If voters reject it, it will likely be due to the campaign to tell people to Vote NO on Everything (but if you must vote yes, then vote yes on the referred law bills). There won’t be any spillover to the candidates who supported those law bills because people know that those fellows were voting their hearts and minds and doing what is for the best interests of the people. And because they are candidates that are loved by the people.

  2. grudznick 2016-10-23 13:50

    If you don’t like a wage, then don’t work that job. Stop acting like entitled whiners who get free money no matter what, kids. If you want to make more money, work harder.

  3. Robert Mehling 2016-10-23 15:20

    South Dakota, where we eat our young and then ask why they left.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-23 15:29

    Grudz, you know that’s not what the minimum wage is about. Workers who make an extra effort deserve extra rewards. But every worker deserves the same basic protection in the workplace. The minimum wage prevents unscrupulous employers from taking advantage of workers by paying them less than the basic protection that all workers deserve.

    Plus, the kids in a limited labor marketplace, like a small town with only a handful of jobs, may not have competitive options. The minimum wage ensures that every worker, everywhere, is afforded some basic dignity.

  5. David Newquist 2016-10-23 16:33

    I don’t know how any young person or their parents who has worked during high would vote for this. y children all had jobs during high school. One limited her work to serving as a recreational aid and in a move theater. The other two both took work at fast food places. The business plan of these places is based upon the assumption of exploiting juveniles. But in both cases, students did the work, including some managerial tasks. One afternoon when my son reported for work, he and his coworkers were greeted by a sign pasted on the door that told the place was no longer in business. Both of my younger two had occasions when they did not get off work until the wee hours, as the kitchens had to be readied for a health inspection. The management cared not at all that they had school work to finish and school to attend. And as a college teacher, I often accommodated students who were called in to work when they were to be in class, sometimes when a test was scheduled.

    This amendment is just a symptom of the attitude that some businesses have toward our young people. Robert Mehling notes accurately the attitude developed in those young people. Most decide to escape. Some think it is the way businesses regard their workers. And they are the ones that stay.

  6. Donald Pay 2016-10-23 17:02

    I can’t figure out what the purpose of a sub-minimum wage for under-18 would be. Most kids I see at work in theaters, department stores, restaurants or grocery stores are doing the same work as an adult would, or that adults actually do during school hours. In many instances, the teens do a better job. Is there any data out there to show any financial or productivity data that backs up the argument for a subminimum wage? I’d want to see some financial data or productivity data to prove a business has to spend so much more on training a younger person than an adult that it justifies a lower minimum wage.

  7. grudznick 2016-10-23 17:39

    Mr. Pay, the market will sort itself out. Do you know any kids who would take a job for under 8 bucks an hour? If so, those kids need to step it up. There are oodles of jobs out there. Nobody should take a job for a wage they don’t want. Nobody. Take a little personal responsibility here. And stop trying to outlaw stupidity. The stupid will always be stupid. And they will live less well than a smart man like you, even if you are soft in the head. After all, you moved to Wisconsin but yet you wish you were here.

  8. grudznick 2016-10-23 17:49

    Eliminate the Minimum Wage for Everybody!
    Vote NO on Everything!

  9. Roger Cornelius 2016-10-23 18:36

    grudz must enjoy watching his federal taxes going to supplement the incomes of minimum wage workers in the form of food stamps, Section 8 Housing, Medicaid, etc.
    When the Novstrup’s refuse to take “personal responsibility” for their employees the federal government has to jump in so workers can survive.
    In the meantime the Novstrup’s get wealthy by not paying a livable wage and having the federal government pick up the tab.

  10. Rorschach 2016-10-23 19:05

    I can’t believe that in low-wage South Dakota we’re actually voting on whether to lower somebody’s wages. Who among us – besides grudznick – wishes that our neighbors, friends and family would make less per hour for their labor? There’s something a little off about anyone who thinks that way.

  11. grudznick 2016-10-23 19:41

    Nobody gets paid minimum wage, Mr. C. You know that here in Rapid City there is a massive shortage of qualified workers. If kids want a job that pays good money all they have to do is go answer the ads. That goes for anybody. Heck, I am told a quick check around the ads on the web pages shows no cheap jobs.

    Want to make more? Work harder. The market drives your worth. Your skills and hard work drive your worth. If you are better than the next fellow then your employer will pay you more.

  12. owen reitzel 2016-10-23 19:45

    actually Grudz I make minimum wage at my part time job

  13. grudznick 2016-10-23 19:56

    Mr. reitzel, I can’t explain your choices but they are your choices. If they said they were going to pay you $4.00 and hour would you stay? Again, it would be your choice.
    I realize you don’t want my advice so I will withhold it, but I do wish you the best of luck. And I envision since it’s your part time job it is probably something you are doing for fun or as a hobby. I once lived in a camper in a park for a summer and they paid me diddly squat but I was really doing it because it was sort of fun.

  14. owen reitzel 2016-10-23 19:59

    I’ll take your advice Grudz. The last time I got a raise I asked for it and they gave it to me.

    Yes I do very much enjoy what I do and I’ve been doing it part time since 1991. What do I do?
    I’m a sports writer

  15. Porter Lansing 2016-10-23 20:06

    Mr. Nick … It’s almost a certainty that Al Novstup (owner of an amusement park which hires mostly teens) wasn’t voting to lower his payroll by a dollar an hour per employee because his heart told him to.

  16. grudznick 2016-10-23 20:09

    That’s a really neat job, Mr. reitzel!

  17. Porter Lansing 2016-10-23 20:10

    Oh, that’s right. The law to lower the kids wages was written and sponsored by his son, who also owns the amusement park? Isn’t that kinda corrupt?

  18. owen reitzel 2016-10-23 20:10

    But there was a time grudz that I needed the extra money and a lot of people are in the same boat but they don’t necessary enjoy what they’re doing.
    They have too work extra jobs to support their family and some of these are kids. Why cut their wages?

  19. grudznick 2016-10-23 20:11

    You can’t run an amusement park, no matter how amusing it is, without paying enough to get employees. Supply and demand. The market drives the wages. Or, maybe it’s a really fun job for the kids.

  20. grudznick 2016-10-23 20:18

    Lots of people would like to play football and make millions of dollars. But, apparently, the market says that for most people watching other sub-part players isn’t fun so they pay more money to people who are really good. And if the people aren’t really good or get bad then they get fired or have to take less money. It is no different even for carnival workers.

  21. Darin Larson 2016-10-23 20:23

    Grudz– I think your sheltered life or good fortunes and regular meals at Tally’s have caused you to overlook the plight of the less fortunate. You seem to think life is fair and that the invisible hand of the market rules with infinite wisdom and equality and justice for all. I have seen the world work much differently than your experience, apparently. The invisible hand of the market is just as likely to b—– slap you as it is to give you all that you are entitled based on your hard work.

    A minimum wage doesn’t guarantee fairness, but it does set a floor to guard against exploitation for those on the low end of the pay scale. The reason that Karl Marx was wrong about capitalism destroying itself in the end was because of government intervention in the form of regulation and restrictions on the exploitation of labor. A minimum wage that gives a person some measure of self worth and dignity is the least our society can do given how much opportunity our society offers to the wealthy.

  22. grudznick 2016-10-23 20:27

    We’re talking about kids here, Mr. Larson. They are not yet jaded from years of failure and being paid some minimum wage. They are kids, working to earn a few bucks to buy beer and gas. And the people who are 40 or 50 making minimum wage have no one to blame but themselves.

    Good fortunes come from working harder.

  23. Porter Lansing 2016-10-23 20:36

    Using your elected capacity to make laws that highly benefit yourself is wrong. The Novstrups did this and without Cory Heidelberger they’d have gotten away with it.

  24. grudznick 2016-10-23 20:43

    The Brothers Novstrup and their sons are swell and upstanding fellows and have done nothing wrong. But Bill Clinton did. :-)

  25. Porter Lansing 2016-10-23 20:53

    We can always tell when G-Nick is layin’ down a wide windrow of bulls**t because he talks and talks and then trys to change the subject. The Novstrups are “ridin’ dirty” and all your backstrokin’ and distractions can’t justify it, Nick.

  26. Jenny 2016-10-23 21:00

    So what’s the likelihood that this Referred Law 20 will pass?
    Don’t you think SD workers work hard enough, Grudzie?
    Actually Grudz, I would tell SD young ‘uns to Work Smarter, Leave SD. Get the hell out when you graduate.
    This Referred Law is just one more reason to give an incentive for SDs young to leave.

  27. Roger Cornelius 2016-10-23 21:04

    What does Bill Clinton have to do with Novstrup’s cheating kids out of a fair or livable wage, grudz. Get real!

    “Nobody gets paid the minimum wage, Mr. C”, What grab bag did you get that from Grudz. If there were any truth to that we wouldn’t have two ballot issues to contend with.

    It has been found that big box stores regularly pay minimum wage until they burn out an employee so they get a new hire to do the same minimum wage. It’s a pretty sweet deal, they get some poor kid with energy and they don’t have to pay him as much as much.
    grudz, how do you feel about the government having to supplement the income of minimum wage workers with food stamps, etc.? I asked before but you ignored the question.

  28. Roger Cornelius 2016-10-23 21:10

    Following grudz’s tantrum on Vote No Everything, we now learn that he will Vote No on 20.
    Thanks for your support grudz.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-23 21:25

    Jenny, when I circulated the petition last year, I speculated that the vote would split evenly. Given the currently accumulating results in my poll above, synergy with the cranky No on other measures, David Novstrup’s feckless stammering, lack of SDGOP/Chamber/Retailers effort to secure a Yes, and a sense that initiative and referendum mean more to voters than the SDGOP thought, I’m willing to upgrade my outlook to 44% Yes, 56% No.

    Grudz, the fact that we’re talking about kids here makes it all the more important that we protect them from exploitation. Guaranteeing them the same minimum wage sets expectations for the kids and for their adult employers that all workers should be treated with respect.

  30. Darin Larson 2016-10-23 21:35

    Grudz– if you stop looking at kids as some resource to be exploited, maybe you would consider the fact that in our low wage state many kids are not working just to buy gas and beer. They are working to pay the rent and to buy a car so they can get a job to help pay for college or technical school. They may come from a family that needs the kids to work just so the family can afford to live. The parent or parents already have two jobs, but it is still hard for them to make ends meet. For these folks, adding a dollar to their hourly wage isn’t a lark–it’s a big deal.

    Why is it so easy for you trickle down types to justify giving huge tax breaks to the rich, but you are loathe to give an extra dollar an hour to poor kids? Who do you think is going to spur the economy: a poor kid who is going to spend every dime just to live or the wealthy who can take their tax break and park the money in a Cayman Island tax haven?

  31. Lynn Ryan 2016-10-23 22:42

    Everyone doing the same job should get the same pay, men, women, teens. Some teens are actually helping their families subsist.

  32. Randy Pudwill 2016-10-24 14:23

    As the manager of one the oldest businesses in Sioux Falls I pay all of my employees $10 an hour, including the ones that are 13 and 14 years of age. Equal effort and work deserves equal pay. I do not exploit my young employees because I know they will soon grow older and be that much more dedicated and valuable in the future.

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-24 16:19

    Mr. Pudwill, thanks for the comment… and thanks for starting your workers off right! I take it that, since you’re paying $10/hour minimum, the minimum wage increase hasn’t had any effect on your business. Have any of your young workers talked about their friends having trouble finding work due to the higher minimum wage?

  34. Adam 2016-10-24 16:39

    Conservatives get their kicks making devil’s advocate arguements on behalf of income inequality – mostly because they’ve lost their moral compass and don’t actually understand employee retention or economics.

    Making every job a temporary labor position, with no benefits, is the purest conservatopian vision for the future.

  35. Randy Pudwill 2016-10-25 10:30

    My younger workers have not commented about their friends finding work.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-25 10:40

    Fair enough. No data there… but at least we have Mr. Pudwill’s example of treating workers with respect and inspiring in them dedication.

  37. Porter Lansing 2016-10-25 11:14

    Why haven’t the Novstrup’s paraded out a queue of happy teen employees who think it’s just great that their bosses are trying to use their politically elected offices to legally cut their pay and put more “amusement cash” in the owners pockets? Maybe they think they work just as hard as any adult at Thunder Road and should be compensated fairly. Hmmmmm?

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