Facebook Twitter

Letter: Utah’s poverty wages make it an uncompetitive state in the marketplace

SHARE Letter: Utah’s poverty wages make it an uncompetitive state in the marketplace

Rep. Carl Albrecht, R-Richfield, and Rep. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, listen during a discussion about HB147, which would have set a minimum wage in Utah of $10.25 and increased it annually to $15 in 2023, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. The bill ultimately did not pass.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

Mitt Romney should have voted to raise the minimum wage. Here’s why:

I was forced to move away from Utah, thanks to its unlivable minimum wage. I was raised my whole life in Logan, a Utahn born and bred. I love the nature in the state; I love the small towns. I even love the Latter-day Saints. I especially love my family, many of whom still reside in Utah.

However, I faced a problem. As much as I love living with my parents, I’m old enough now (nearing 30) that I desperately wanted my own place. Crazy dream, I know. Try as I might, especially in Logan with the university, there are no places in Utah you can rent for a reasonable percentage of your income when your income is on the lower end of the spectrum.

“Get a better job,” I’m sure people are saying. I did, but the best place to find a better job that pays more than poverty wages is outside of Utah. I moved to Illinois, where my rent is the same and I now make $20 an hour and live substantially more comfortably. My new, higher income pays several thousand dollars in Illinois taxes; I generated who knows how much consumer activity with my expanded purchases; I contributed towards land value by driving up demand in rents that I could actually afford; and my presence in the state adds towards Illinois’ numbers in the House of Representatives.

I found a better job, but I had to leave my state behind. I didn’t want to, but I did what I had to do. It felt like my Utah was telling me to take my money elsewhere, so I did. It is a market after all. But that’s no way to run a successful business.

Raise your minimum wage to a livable wage, Utah, and I will move back with my money. Make Utah livable for those with lower incomes and larger families. Otherwise, I will continue to shop at your competitors, and you will lose out on all my money.

Taylor Costel

Chicago, Illinois