By Colin Froment | The Center Square
In his veto message rejecting a hike to New Hampshire’s minimum wage law, Gov. Chris Sununu argued that it would have increased unemployment and damaged the state’s economy.
New Hampshire Democrats, on the other hand, reject that argument and insist they plan to keep trying to boost the state’s wage.
The bill intended to raise the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $10 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2020. The rate would then increase again to $12 by January 2021.
Sununu warned in his veto message that the negatives of a minimum wage hike would outweigh the positives.
“According to studies, other states and cities that have artificially raised the minimum wage have seen take-home pay decline because minimum wage workers have their hours cut or their jobs eliminated,” Sununu said.
State Senate President Donna Soucy, a Democrat and the author of the minimum wage legislation, said in a statement that she would continue to push for higher wages for low-income New Hampshire residents.
“I remain committed to this fight and extend my sincere gratitude to the advocates and lawmakers pushing to raise the wage,” Soucy said. “New Hampshire values work – it’s far past time for us to guarantee that hardworking Granite Staters earn enough to support themselves and their families.”
Sununu, a Republican, cited research conducted on the amount of hours and money lost by jobs in Seattle, New York and Maryland since those states raised their minimum wages.
While Sununu acknowledged that New Hampshire’s economy is currently a “boom,” he warned that an upcoming recession or “economic slowdown” would increase labor costs and harm young employees, amplifying the negative effects of a minimum wage increase.
Neighboring New England states have higher minimum wages that will continue to rise in 2020 and possibly beyond. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the minimum wage is currently $12 in Massachusetts, $11 in Maine, $10.78 in Vermont, $10.50 in Rhode Island, and $10.10 in Connecticut.
“I will not be the Governor that signs a bill that will lead to lost jobs, cut hours and less money in the pockets of hard working Granite Staters,” Sununu said in his statement.