$15 an hour… in MY state? It’s more likely than you think, actually. A new bill aiming to boost minimum wage turned several heads in Hartford the other day. However, while everyone’s hearts are in the right place, everything came down to one thing.
Where’s the money going to come from?
CT News Junkie reports that the legislature’s Appropriations Committee moved the minimum wage bill to the house. It narrowly passed, mainly along party lines, on a 27-24 vote.
The bill proposes bolstering minimum wage from $10.10 to $12 starting in 2019. By 2021, wages will grow to $15 an hour.
West Haven Democrat, Rep. Michael DiMassa, spoke passionately about the bill:
“If we can’t afford to lift some of the most disadvantaged people in our community up then I don’t want to hear it. That’s deplorable.”
It’s no secret that CT is one of the hardest states to afford living in. People seemingly struggle to put groceries on the table and keep their tanks full of gas.
Still, I do see the irony that the people pushing for higher wages also want tolls in CT. They cite our state’s high cost of living and want to fix it, but in the same breath want residents to shoulder a larger burden.
Democrat logic for you.
Anyways, I do support a higher minimum wage because no one should work full time and only earn $20,000. It doesn’t matter if they flip burgers for a living or stack books. A job is a job and should provide you with a survivable income.
I argued this famously before to give wages a boost in this article HERE. Back in the 70’s, starting wages had people working for $2. Sure, that sounds like a small amount of money, but people tend to forget the power of inflation. $2 back then is $10 in our times.
However, more bills came into existence since the 70’s, which only increased our cost of living.
FDR introduced the concept of a basic wage in 1938, enforcing that everyone who works should earn a “decent living.”
No one who works for the federally mandated lowest possible wage can live a decent life. So, they work multiple jobs in hopes of breaking even.
However, while some people sneer at those who “flip burgers” for a living and say they don’t deserve $15 an hour, what they really need a reality check.
The fact is, minimum wage workers cost US money in the long run. Billions upon billions of dollars, actually.
In 2014, those workers cost US taxpayers $7 billion because they required at least one form of federal assistance to survive. In 2014, over half of fast food workers lived on federal assistance in tandem with their low wages.
So, if we boost these wages, it means more people will have the means to live independently and off the “government’s teat. ” It also means people will have more money to spend on the economy, such as on clothes and entertainment like restaurants and aquariums.
But, most importantly of all, it means the government puts in less money to these programs because less people need them.
However, CT Republicans feel that minimum wage endangers finances more than boosting them.
East Haddam Republican, Rep. Melissa Ziobron, cautioned:
“We have just increased our budget deficit in these committee meetings over the last few days. It’s not because these are not worthwhile endeavors. It’s because the money tree shriveled up and died. We have no more money.”
By their estimates, the government sector would struggle to pay their employees higher wages. Currently, the the Department of Developmental Services operates on a $31.4 million budget.
However, with a higher minimum wage, they claim it will cost the Department of Social Services $14.7 million more. Not to mention an additional $1.6 million for child care providers.
“I’m up to $50 million,” Ziobron warned on her analysis off 2019 alone. She says the state has a deficit worth $321 million, but it would spike to $370 million if there’s a hike in minimum wages.
Litchfield Republican, Sen. Craig Miner, says he feels for those earning low wages. However, he says the state cannot implement an income boost just yet because the numbers aren’t in. He believes this bill will only bloat the state budget and send his fellow lawmakers scrambling.
He also cautioned that increasing the deficit would mean increased taxes, which would only fuel the state’s alarming exodus.
Miner brought up a study that documented the amount of outgoing residents between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017. In that span of time, the state lost 22,000 people.
So, this bill hangs in limbo right now. On one hand, low income residents would greatly benefit from higher wages, as well as the state economy.
It would also free up money for our government because less people would rely on their assistance.
However, the state would need to make up the difference to pay for their own minimum wage workers and don’t have a plan to do so just yet.
And, in the same breath that Democrats use to say people need more money, want to push tolls which would only take MORE money out of their constituents’ pockets. Nice.
Ergo, our state landed itself in a fine fiscal mess and, as always, has no idea how to climb out of the dumpster fire it threw itself into.
What do you think? Should minimum wage get a boost so it’ll bolster spending in our economy or should our state fix its finances first?