The Maine People’s Alliance, a leftist group that is essentially a well-funded arm of the Maine Democratic Party, hosted a rally to support a job-killing wage mandate earlier today at the Maine State House. House Republicans remain steadfast in their strong and vehement opposition to any sort of blunt wage mandate from the Maine Legislature.
“House Republicans plan to stand up for the thousands of people, especially those folks in rural Maine where I live, who will most likely lose their jobs or have their hours significantly cut which will be the result if a blunt wage mandate becomes reality. No one has ever been lifted out of poverty by the Maine Legislature raising the minimum. It’s been done nine times in the past 20 years and the minimum wage here in Maine has consistently been higher than the federal level. Study after study on this subject shows us this would do more harm than good. We need to stop bickering about entry-level jobs and start focusing on bringing optimum wage jobs to Maine.”
This is an excerpt from a letter written by a small business owner in Portland that was printed in today’s Bangor Daily News speaks plainly about the devastating impact a blunt wage mandate would have on his small business:
“It will be even harder to compete and keep employees at a mom and pop if the nationals are required to pay a higher amount….Has anyone done an overall evaluation to show the impact on the bottom line of any business? Has anyone put together a profit and loss statement and then show the impact on the statement with the new wage increase? Has anyone thought of the fact that if one’s highest wage is making $15 now, and the people that are making $7.50 are now being paid $15, should the highest paid be making $22.50 to compensate for the higher skill level: How will this affect the overall pricing of services and products? Is everyone ready to pay $10 for a bagel and cream cheese with a cup of coffee? I know there is a certain part of society that already do it at some of the national chains, but those are not my customers or the average American making $10 an hour.”
A recent study from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office who determined a blunt wage mandate would mean 500,000 people would lose their jobs nationwide. Maine Democratic Representative Scott Hamann of South Portland seemed dismissive of a half-million low-income people losing their jobs, calling it a “net gain.” This outrageous comment was said by Rep. Hamann on mic during the public hearing.
“There are myths and lies being recklessly promulgated by supporters of a wage mandate in Maine,” said Rep. Karl Ward of Dedham. “That wherever the wage mandate is set is somehow supposed to be a ‘living wage’ capable of supporting a family. However the actual data, collected since Maine’s minimum wage took effect in 1959, clearly shows that then, since, and now, this notion is completely untrue. In short, minimum wage is, and has always meant to be just that – a minimum, starting wage. Nothing more.”
According to the Maine Department of Labor the number of Mainers earning the minimum wage decreased from 20,000 to 17,000 from 2013-2014 and only a very small percent of those people are actually heads of household.