If the state can’t afford the $15 minimum wage, who can?

By Rob Roper

With just a couple of weeks left in the 2019 legislative session advocates for the $15 minimum wage were somehow surprised by the reality that, if they pass this, more revenue will be necessary to pay state funded health care workers. One estimate, likely low, says that figure will be $30 million over five years.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

The situation is this: many health care workers who are employed by public/private partnerships and dependent upon Medicaid funds for their salaries currently earn less than $15 an hour, with jobs starting around the current minimum wage of just under $11 an hour. If the mandated wage increase goes into effect, but no money is allocated through Medicaid to make up the difference, the only option is to lay off workers and cut services. As a VPR article states, this is “a simple math problem.”

However, as that article also notes, “… so far at least, lawmakers have yet to make any long-term commitments to assure that the increased Medicaid funding will materialize…. Late last month, the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs attached an amendment that would allocate $875,000 in Medicaid funding to offset payroll increases in year one of the phase-in. Waterbury Rep. Tom Stevens, the Democrat who chairs that committee, said even that money could be difficult to find in the budget — “and we’re not sure it’s there,” he said.

In this scenario, the state is the customer and the Home Health Services are the businesses. If the customer isn’t willing to pay more for the business’ services, then the business is in deep trouble. Even, as in this case, the customer would like to spend more money on the business’ product, they may not have it (even given the power to tax, which most customers don’t have), the business is in deep trouble.

While it’s nice that the Legislature is considering paying more for these health care services (with our money), it would also be nice if they considered, in this light, the plight of private businesses that will be forced to raise the prices for their goods and services and that have customers who are unwilling or unable to pay those increases. These businesses do not have the luxury of petitioning politicians for a big chunk of taxpayer money to make up the differences in their budgets. These businesses are just in deep trouble.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of WIkimedia Commons/The All-Nite Images

15 thoughts on “If the state can’t afford the $15 minimum wage, who can?

  1. I hope TNR readers will read and contribute to the current discussions in VT Digger on the minimum wage. That’s where conservative commentary will have the most effect. The Vermont masses are in desperate need of the conservative perspective. Consider this recent report.

    “Which class of full-time, year-round American workers has the highest median earnings? Is it the class that works for private-sector employers? Is it the class that works for the government? Or is it the entrepreneurial class, who are self-employed? According to the Census Bureau’s Personal Income Table 07 (PINC-07), the competition isn’t close. When it comes to making money in the modern United States of America, government workers win.”

    • Add in platinum Gov’t ‘fringe benefits’ and generous retirement – and Gov’t workers glow even brighter
      for standard of living

    • Many of us have been censored by VT digger. Digger gets most of its funding from the left, they silence opposing views. Digger is just another bought and paid for puppet. They should lose their non-profit status, after all, they are just a paid political mouthpiece.

  2. Home health care workers and nursing home workers pay has got to be brought up.Slavery was abolished in this country.You wouldn’t think so,looking at these people’s paychecks.
    If the pay doesn’t rise,they will walk away,they already are.

    • Just add up the cost of rent,heat,cell phone,transportation,food,and electricity,and internet and see why these people are hurting so bad.It’s really a crime what’s going on.

      • Yeah… $100/month cell phone bill. A crime not to have one.

        Still don’t have one and my life keeps on going just the same. No ill effects.

        I suppose the need to NFL/NHL/.NBA/MLB sports cable tv package while your at it…

    • I think you need a reality check. Many of these aid jobs were filled by High School and college students with no experience who were learning on the job. The employer paid what they were worth! Depending on what on what path they choose it was life learning experience and a path to future opportunities.
      It can not be an employers responsibility to give them everything they thing they need. We are creating a depend society and will price Vermont out of all markets. (I think this is what the dome is going for!)

  3. I damn well pay what I think is appropriate. Shut me down.

    Talked to a manufacturer in Windsor that is hurting for employees, many years. He hires people, educates them, a salary. They stay for a couple of weeks, then don’t show up. The business is a simple and challenging one. Regardless of the salary, they leave and leave the business in a problem.

    That’s the VT way and the new “available” work applicants. The Dome people don’t understand. VT has failed to educate, and instill work ethics, no directions.

    I damn well wouldn’t start them out at $15. They don’t last and waste my time. Screw the Flatlander Dome crowd, get real!!!! You’re not to dictate policy on my company which I pay taxes to the Dome. BS

    • If you paid what a fireman,cop,or road worker gets paid,you would retain your help.

      • Ditmar, perhaps you should work long hours, risk capital and start a business. Then you would be free to hire unexperienced workers and pay them as much as you would like. Why stop at $15 per hour, maybe you should pay them $50! Go for it!

  4. Left doesn’t care, it’s win-win for them. This creates chaos for small business who must pay, and lots of state dependents for those unaffordable. Never forget, Bolsheviks target the middle class. Read Solzhenitsyn. He was here in Vermont for 18 years.

  5. Some will see that Connecticut, another state that is being run into the ground by the Left is having some problems footing the $15/hr bill as well


    “If a plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, up from $10.10, succeeds this year, nursing home operators – wedged between rising labor costs and stagnant funding – say they may be forced to lay off staff or trim benefits to come up with the additional money for the organizations’ lowest paid employees.”

    • We might’s just as well change our name to the blithering idiot state nord Connecticut.
      Leading the nanny states union of oppressive fascist Agenda.
      ’cause it surely isn’t the freedom loving independent self surviving Vermont that
      Ethan and Ira left us with..

      I would suggest the legislature for go all pay and compensation if they want this leftist AGENDA enacted to the displeasure of the citizenry. Also all their wealth should go to the state coffers upon their demise. Call it the stupid legislation tax..having consequences for their stupid might lead to less stupid AGENDA from them.

      • Connecticut has wealth too… can’t say that for VT, well 500 or so returns in VT in excess of $1,000,000 … I guess there is a smiggen.

Comments are closed.