Small Business to Congress: We Can’t Absorb a $15 Per Hour Federal Minimum Wage
NFIB strongly opposes new federal legislation to mandate a nationwide $15 per hour minimum wage, based on the overwhelming feedback of small businesses. According to an NFIB member ballot, 92% of small businesses say a $15 per hour minimum wage would be harmful to Main Street and its job opportunities.
Federal policymakers are considering several proposals to raise the minimum wage and consideration is moving quickly. Today U.S. Senators may vote on a minimum wage-related budget amendment. President Joe Biden proposed a $15 per hour minimum wage in his pandemic relief package, and Congressional Democrats have also introduced a standalone minimum wage hike, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021. Both bills are overwhelmingly opposed by small business owners and NFIB, the voice of small business.
“A $15 minimum wage would hurt the small businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and government-mandated shutdowns,” said Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB Vice President of Federal Government Relations. “Companies listed on Wall Street may support a much higher minimum wage because it would give them a competitive advantage, but a hike would make it that much harder for Main Street to even continue to exist.”
NFIB research shows the extraordinary damage a $15 per hour federal minimum wage would do:
- 1.6 million jobs lost – 57% at small businesses
- 700,000 jobs lost at the smallest firms
- 165,000 jobs lost in the restaurant industry
- 162,000 jobs lost in the retail trade industry
- 85,000 jobs lost in the administrative and support services industries
- $2 trillion reduction in real economic output
- Nearly $1 trillion reduction in real GDP
- $103 billion reduction in personal disposable income
These harmful consequences would be the result of hard choices forced by a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour. While big businesses have the profits and revenues to cushion the blow, small businesses are less able to absorb additional cost increases, forcing them to cut back on expenses, including labor, or close their doors.
The damage of a $15 per hour federal minimum wage would differ from state to state. States with higher minimum wages would see fewer job losses and business closures, while states with lower rates would face more significant economic pain.
“One-size-fits-all mandates are always bad news for small business, and a nationwide $15 per hour minimum wage is no exception,” Kevin Kuhlman said. “The big businesses that are lobbying for this dangerous policy know it will hurt their smaller competitors. Hasn’t small business suffered enough over the past year?”
NFIB is ramping up grassroots efforts against current minimum wage hike proposals. This week in a letter to the U.S. House and a letter to the U.S. Senate, NFIB urged Congress not to saddle small business owners with the Raise the Wage Act of 2021. We have a track record of defeating federal minimum wage hike efforts. In 2019, NFIB key-voted against a $15 per hour federal minimum wage bill in the U.S. House. That bill was not considered in the Senate. See NFIB’s key-vote letter from 2019 here.
Congress needs to hear from you on how a $15 per hour federal minimum wage would hurt your business, employees, and community. Please consider telling your members of Congress to vote against raising the federal minimum wage. Our action alert makes it easy for you to tell them why Small Businesses Cannot Afford A $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage. Make your voice heard on the dangers of a minimum wage hike today.