Democratic lawmakers and advocates for the working poor want to raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage, but the move faces pushback from business groups who say it will cost jobs and hurt the state’s economy.
Large corporations have endorsed and lobbied for a $15 federal minimum wage in recent years, but while they can afford such a policy, small businesses would be harmed, studies have shown.
President Joe Biden supports incrementally raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current rate of $7.25 an hour. Late last week, he signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay at least $15 per hour wages and provide emergency paid leave to employees.
The latest round in the legislative battle between the Democrat-Progressive Legislature and Republican Gov. Phil Scott went to the lawmakers Tuesday noon, as the House overrode his veto of S.23, raising the minimum wage to $12.55 by Jan. 1, 2022.
Governor Phil Scott on Monday vetoed S.23, a bill that would have mandated an increase to Vermont’s minimum wage. This mandate would have been on top of increases that already occur annually under current Vermont law.
The Vermont House voted Friday to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12.55 within two years, but the measure failed to garner enough votes to override a veto, should Gov. Phil Scott oppose the bill in the coming weeks.
New Hampshire currently defaults to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. After lawmakers last year approved raising it to $12 by 2022, Sununu vetoed it.
So there you have it. Vermont women earn 100 cents on the dollar if you take into consideration their work preferences, better than the 98 cents on the dollar that American women do. Without understanding this fact, a $15 minimum wage will do more harm than good.
On the first day back in session, the Vermont House faces unfinished workplace bills including contractor licensing, the minimum wage and paid family leave.
“A minimum wage hike may produce an immediate wage hike for many of the 2.2 percent of hourly workers who are impacted, but the higher labor costs force employers to cut non-wage benefits, like free meals, flexible leave arrangements, and health insurance coverage.”
If Buttigieg has overwhelming evidence indicating that the vast majority of the poor would see an overall increase in their pay (despite working fewer hours), then he could conceivably have an argument.
It may be true that some minimum wage hikes raise wages for a few lucky workers, but it comes at the expense of layoffs and shorter hours for others.