Where We Live: The Minimum Wage Debate
Connecticut’s Minimum wage - now at $8.25 - may be changing
Connecticut’s Minimum wage - now at $8.25 - may be changing.
The state house has passed a bill that would hike it by 25 cents each of the next two years. Now it goes to the senate.
Supporters argue the increase would help low wage workers while stimulating the economy.
But opponents say it’s “anti-business”- that the hike would impact small businesses already struggling with the effects of a bad economy. And that with already the fourth highest minimum wage, high insurance costs, and paid sick leave, this is just another reason Connecticut isnt “open for business”
But think about what a one-quarter an hour raise really means. And does $10 more a week really hurt or help anyone?
To answer these questions we called on a few researchers/economists on both sides of the issue. Michael Saltsman is a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute. Doug Hall is the Director of Economic Analysis and Research Network at the Economic Policy Institute. John asked them if there is a magic number, or middle ground, from an economic standpoint that we could get to in a state like Connecticut that is high wage, high cost - where it makes sense to put a minumum wage for workers?
Doug Hall was excited about the original proposal that would see the 75 cent increase over the next two years, and indexed to inflation. But Michael Saltsman said evidence points to the idea that if we are going to trying to help low income families, raising the minimum wage isnt a great way to do it. "I dont think looking for a magic number is the right thing to do... Leaving Connecticut's minimum wage what it's at right now and letting people get in and earn a raise and work their way up, like people are always doing is the right approach."
Ray made the point that if today's minimum wage was tied to inflation, it would be at $10.39, which he thinks is closer to a living wage. "Responsible business owners support this," he said.
Although the bill has been stripped down, Murrell says the CBIA is still not happy with the increase. "This increase in the floor exerts upward pressure in the middle... The reality of this is this is death by a thousand cuts. It's not just minimum wage, it's minimum wage plus all of the other things businesses are contending with."
We want you to join the conversation. Are you a business owner? Or do you work a minimum wage job? What do you think about this debate?