Wednesday, April 05, 2006

House Cuts Proposal to Increase Minimum Wage
Amendment would delay increase and cut wage hikes in half

AUGUSTA - Efforts to increase the minimum wage in the Maine Legislature suffered a setback on April 5th when the House of Representatives approved an amendment that would delay the increase in the minimum wage until 2007 and cut the proposed increase in half.

Both the House and Senate already initially passed the bill earlier this month that would have increased the minimum wage by 25 cents in 2006 and 25 cents in 2007, to bring the base wage in Maine to $7.00. The current amended version would eliminate the first step of the proposed increase of 25 cents in 2006, and delay any increase in the minimum wage until 2007. The increase in 2007 would be just 25 cents, setting the new hourly minimum wage at $6.75.

Current law sets the state’s minimum wage at $6.50 an hour, which is the second lowest wage in New England. A full time minimum wage worker in Maine now earns $13,500 a year. However, the Maine Center for Economic Policy estimates a person in Maine needs to make close to $9.25 an hour in order to meet basic expenses – with two children, the wages needed to constitute a livable income rise to over $18 an hour.

The bill now goes to the Maine Senate, where state senators can choose to accept the bill as amended, strip the amendment and return it to the House in its original form, add a Senate amendment, or reject it outright.


Blogger Michelle said...

I suppose it's STRANGE that we would hope that the state's Minimum Wage would also be a Living Wage. I should have known better than to let my hopes get up about this measure!

06 April, 2006 05:51  
Blogger Ben said...

I'm with Michelle. I hate that this debate is overshadowing the issue of a living wage. Thank you, Ed, for mentioning what is actually necessary to meet BASIC needs...never mind what's necessary if you should have any debt. It seems so ... petty ... to quibble over $0.25 when the fact is we should raise it by $2.75. Ugh! The way life SHOULD be?

07 April, 2006 06:12  

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