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Politics

Maine Lawmakers on Verge of Restoring 'Tip Credit'

Both the Maine House and Senate have given all but final approval to legislation that would restore the "tip credit" for restaurant servers, overturning a change approved by voters last November.

The change was part of the citizen initiated bill that raises the minimum wage to $9 this year and $12 by 2020.

Rep. Beth O’Connor, a Republican from Berwick, argued in favor of going back to the pre-referendum way of paying servers.

“You cannot have it both ways," O'Connor said. "We as a body need to fix this mess before more businesses are harmed, considerably higher prices, less businesses. Lower wages for servers.”

Opponents argued making the change violates the will of the voters at referendum.

“How can we as legislators with a straight face tell the voters that their votes actually count when, hand in hand with special interests, we are getting ready to ignore their will?” asked Rep. Kent Ackley, an independent from Monmouth.

Proposals to cut the overall minimum wage, eliminate cost-of-living increases for future years and cut wages for younger, entry level workers were all defeated.