Will the MA Minimum Wage Rise Again in 2017?

Date: January 17, 2017

After third straight year of wage increases, advocates renew push for $15.

As of Jan. 1, Massachusetts is tied with Washington for the highest minimum wage in the nation. A $1 increase went into effect, bringing the state’s base wage to $11 per hour, but advocates are not stopping there. Before employers have even had a chance to adjust, the campaign for a $15 minimum wage has begun again.

This renewed push for a higher still minimum wage in Massachusetts comes after it has been raised three times in three years, and small business owners are already feeling the pinch. To combat the skyrocketing payroll costs, many companies have had to reduce staff overall or stop hiring younger workers. And to make matters worse, retail businesses also have to pay workers time-and-a-half on Sundays and holidays.

NFIB/MA State Director Bill Vernon told The Boston Globe that the latest increase is hardest for business owners outside of Boston to absorb because the economy isn’t as strong.

 “I just think $15 is just something the Massachusetts economy, even inside the 495, can’t handle,” Vernon told the Globe. “It will help some people, but it will cost jobs. … And it’s the young, unskilled workers who are going to get hurt by this.”

Two recent surveys by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts supports this belief. AIM found that a whopping 75 percent of Massachusetts employers would endure labor cost increases if a $15 minimum wage is passed, which would force some businesses to lay off workers, postpone hiring, or leave the state altogether.

Ultimately, a $15 minimum wage means fewer jobs for unskilled workers, fewer summer jobs for students, higher costs for small businesses, and higher prices for consumers. Massachusetts can’t afford it.

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