I own Paris Autobarn, a small business that focuses on servicing and selling hybrid and electric vehicles. We have long paid our employees a living wage. In 2016 we joined the Maine Small Business Coalition and, with over 600 other Maine small business owners, helped pass Maine’s minimum wage increase.

Paying my workers a living wage makes them feel valued, helping them to be more productive and reducing turnover. They are more likely to be able to focus on their work without worrying if they’re going to make rent, be able to pay their heating bills, or pay for school supplies for their kid.

That’s why I was proud to see that my congressman, Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, voted for the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024. It’s also why I am disappointed that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have not yet spoken out in favor of the bill.

In 2014, Collins voted against raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 because she said it would hurt small businesses like mine. When we raised the state minimum wage in 2016, the economy grew, unemployment shrunk to record lows, and 10,000 children were lifted out of poverty.

The next year Sen. Collins voted for $1.9 trillion in tax cuts, arguing that somehow it was going to help small businesses like mine. That’s despite the fact that the tax cuts went overwhelmingly to the very rich and big corporations that didn’t need them. Unsurprisingly, instead of hiring, those companies spent the money on record stock buybacks for their wealthy shareholders.

If Sens. Collins and King truly want to support small businesses, they should vote for the Raise the Wage Act.

 

Tony Giambro

South Paris


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