Well, well, well, this year looks to be very, very active in so many ways. We have had the rockiest start of the stock market, the fourth most powerful winter storm, the Senate moving to increase the minimum wage with SB39 and DuPont becoming a big question mark. While we can’t do much about the weather and likely the stock market will rebound eventually without our individual help, we do have an opportunity to have our voices heard with regard to the Minimum Wage Bill that is going to the House,
I attended the Senate Committee hearing and spoke on our behalf, along with our Lobbyist Joe Fitzgerald and others from the restaurant and agricultural industries. The deck was stacked against us more so in the Senate, than perhaps in the House, but I am asking all our members to consider taking a bit of time to read this and communicate with as many House members as you can.
I understand the arguments of those that wish to help those with families earn a wage that will support them. I won’t get into statistics, as they can be filtered and twisted for either side. We heard very different numbers from each side, during the Committee hearing. What I do wish to get across, from our industry, is that our particular industry will be more largely affected, due to the percentage of our staff that would get a raise. Above that, those individuals who are just above that range, will also be looking to maintain the differential that they currently have above minimum wage.
Additionally, a significant percentage of those affected, are not supporting a family, yet will gain the same benefit. This creates a much broader brush stroke than I believe was really intended. There are also a couple of side effects that may occur. These include potential decreases in subsidies such as healthcare, food stamps and other programs that a higher wage may cause disqualification. Lastly, this Bill is to be implemented over a four year period. As I said at the beginning, the stock market and thus the economy, are not on the sturdiest of footing. To put together legislation that assumes the next four years will be productive enough for businesses to absorb this increased expense (nearly 25% increase for that portion of our labor), is, I believe, short sighted. There has to be a better way than SB39 and I ask for your help to let the House members see the shortcomings of this Bill. It actually could lead to automated answers, or layoffs, which would not serve the purpose that was intended.