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Students offer perspective on minimum wage increase, Salem’s image

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Article Courtesy of the Salem Chamber

Students had the opportunity to share their ideas on real-life issues at the Youth Leadership Conference held in March.

Students were given scenarios currently facing our community, such as the impact of raising the minimum wage to how to improve Salem’s image. Then, they broke into small groups and discussed what they felt was the best course of action. Groups created a report and presented their ideas to the rest of the class.

“It was amazing to see their creativity and their depth of knowledge on these topics,” said Kathy Moore, chief development officer for the Salem Chamber. “It’s encouraging to know that our future is in good hands.”

Below are excerpts from the presentations on increasing minimum wage and improving Salem’s image.

The Youth Leadership Conference is a program under The Inspire Foundation.

Minimum wage increase to $15 – what does it really mean?

Ultimately, raising a minimum wage anywhere would cause an inflation crisis. If the minimum wage was raised, that would raise the prices of everything. Higher wage-earners’ paychecks would not change, as they do not earn a minimum wage. So the higher $15 wage would not give lower paying job workers any advancement or advantage, and the higher paying jobs would actually lose money that they were making.

– Syerra Stroebel

Not only would this affect prices of consumer products, a higher minimum wage would affect how businesses operate. Businesses would suffer economically during trade with each other. The businesses that could not compete with the inflated prices of others would eventually go out of business. Then those businesses could not be replaced by new businesses.

– Hannah Vincent

Effects of raising minimum wage

  • Businesses will turn to technology to supplement their labor needs
  • Costs would go up for other things, like college tuition and textbooks
  • Cutting jobs
  • Small businesses forced to close
  • Inflation
  • Increased taxes
  • Hour restrictions
  • Federal poverty threshold
  • Although it wouldn’t effect the national value of the dollar, locally there would be a decrease in the value of the dollar

Improving Salem’s image – Salem doesn’t suck

Salem needs

  • Make Salem welcoming for both visitors and residents
  • Community involvement
  • Youth empowerment
  • Positive community
  • Use businesses to improve community outreach
  • Social media promotion

Attracting people to Salem

Create an edgy vibe

  • Create an Instagram account for Salem’s sights, #seesalemsights
  • Tours of Salem that highlight the positives
  • Creating a fun place for all ages

For residents

  • Improve marketing to Generation Y
  • Have a community feel downtown
  • More promotions for local events, like movie nights and local band concerts
  • Make sure urban hangouts stay alive
  • Modernize building complexes
  • Promote high standards for education
  • Better showcasing of Salem’s agriculture
  • Displaying all of Salem’s history well

Ideas for new attractions

  • More utilization of Bush Park
  • Water park
  • Trademark building with entertainment
  • Concerts/arena
  • Broadway plays
  • Hiking and biking trails
  • Sports stadium
  • Triathlon club

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