There are at least eight bills this legislative session seeking to raise Maine’s minimum wage. Many seek to do so incrementally and some seek to tie future increases to the consumer price index. Both make economic sense for Maine.

At a time when Forbes ranks Maine 48th in “Economic Climate,” it is time for our legislators and governor to put their words into action. If they truly want less public assistance and more fiscal responsibility, then they should support raising Maine’s minimum wage.

Mainers who are working deserve to reap the benefits of their labor without having to seek public assistance. According to the Center for American Progress, if the federal minimum wage were raised to just $10.10 per hour, we would save $4.6 billion in subsidized food stamps for underpaid workers. More importantly, imagine the dignity of workers who would like nothing more than to provide for themselves and their families.

Minimum wage is not keeping pace with rising costs and so it must be tied to inflation. Incremental increase will provide Maine time to adjust and anticipate inflation changes. It will also save Maine money when legislators no longer need to waste taxpayer’s dollars arguing about it whether to raise it each year.

Finally, a raise in the minimum wage would spur economic activity. Maine has raised its wage 22 times and is still “Open for Business.” In the words of Henry Ford, “Paying good wages is not charity at all — it is the best kind of business.”

Heather Washburn

Canaan


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