Minimum wage doesn't allow for living wage in North Idaho - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Minimum wage doesn't allow for living wage in North Idaho

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POST FALLS, Idaho- The minimum wage debate continues as President Barack Obama advocated for an increase to the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10 dollars an hour on Labor Day.

Washington has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, but it's the exact opposite for Idaho. And a new study from the Alliance for a Just Society reveals some startling new data.

According to the report the living wage for Idaho in a home of one adult who is working is $14.57 an hour, double the state's minimum wage. The report examined several homes in 10 different states.

A living wage is the hourly pay necessary to cover costs of housing, food, and utilities. But families that don't meet the living wage are forced to cut costs in areas like nutrition and healthcare, something Amy Watkins of Post Falls is familiar with.

"I learned how to make mayonnaise instead of buying a jar of mayonnaise. I learned how to make pasta instead of buying pasta," said Watkins.

For years, Watkins has been struggling below the poverty line, supporting herself and her daughter who is living with disabilities. Other than disability checks, Watkins is the only means of income. According to this new report, she should be making almost 15 dollars an hour, the reality isn't even close.

"When you're living in crisis mode, you don't think about savings. You're more worried about if your'e going to have a roof over your head or food on the table."

Watkins is one of many hoping the minimum wage is increased. because just getting by is getting hard.

"It is possible, but it's very difficult, and it's a long road," said Watkins.

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