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Maine Lawmakers Consider Proposals To Head Off Minimum Wage Hikes

Maine’s current $11 minimum wage will go up to $12 next January. Lawmakers are considering several proposals to head off the increase, or create a separate sub-minimum wage for teens.Beth Francis, of Hebron, was among the small business owners who told lawmakers that the voter-approved minimum wage increases are forcing them to hire fewer workers, and hike prices.
 

“If the minimum wage in Maine continues to climb and wages for minors are not adjusted lower it will put many of us out of business because customers will not pay the higher prices,” Francis said.

 

But opponents argued that there are no studies to support claims that Maine’s economy has been hurt by the minimum wage increases approved by referendum.

 

“The efforts to weaken Maine’s minimum wage are perennial objects of consideration here," said James Mayall of the Maine Center for Economic Policy. "Most often the Legislature rejects these efforts out of hand with good reason. Previous legislatures have recognized here is no evidence to suggest that Maine’s minimum wage is too high.”

 

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.