Raise the minimum wage
To the editor:
People who work should get paid a decent, livable wage, whether they work full time or not. At $7.25 an hour, a full-time minimum wage worker earns less than $300 a week.
In 1979, one hour of work at New Hampshire’s minimum wage could purchase the equivalent of $9.47 in today’s dollars. In other words, inflation has eaten away more than $2 per hour in purchasing power since 1979.
In New Hampshire, 32 percent of full-time minimum wage workers labor full time. Seventy percent work at least half time. Only 20 percent of minimum wage earners are teenagers. Thirty-six percent are over 30.
House Bill 1403 would increase the minimum wage for the first time in five years by $1 in January 2015 and add another $0.75 in 2016 to reach $9, then adjust it annually based on inflation (the Consumer Price Index, or CPI). Could you pay your bills even now at $9 an hour? And manage without a raise in five years?
Would not increasing the minimum wage hurt jobs and the economy? The most reliable and recent research shows that prior minimum wage increases have not led to job losses. And the added spendable earnings from these workers boosts the economy. Increasing our minimum wage to $9 per hour constitutes $64 million over the next two years for low-income households, which by necessity spend every dollar they earn.
Apparently, it’s such a good idea that an unbelievable 76 percent of our New Hampshire citizens, according to a November 2013 Gallup poll, favors an increase to $9. More recently a Public Policy poll showed 60 percent of Granite Staters would support an increase to $10 an hour.
But HB 1403 only asks for $9. HB 1403 would produce a modest, gradual, and sustained increase in New Hampshire’s minimum wage. That benefits us all.
Please, if you agree with this, contact your state representatives immediately ... and senator, too, because after the House vote, the bill will go to the Senate. Thank you.