Minimum Wage Battles Loom For States, Small Businesses

Date: March 15, 2016

Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New York Among States Seeking Higher Wages

Small business owners across the US are facing battles over the issue of minimum wage hikes this year. In Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards in his budget address this week proposed increasing the minimum wage from the current Federal rate of $7.25 per hour to $8 per hour in 2017 and $8.50 per hour in 2018. This comes as the state sees an $800 million shortfall for the next fiscal year in its budget. During the address, the AP reports Edwards said, “Stabilizing the budget must remain our top priority, but setting Louisiana on a more prosperous trajectory also requires focusing on policies that will move our state and our people forward.” NFIB Louisiana Director Dawn Starns urged lawmakers “to push back against Gov. Edwards’ overreaching policies that would create additional hardships for Louisiana’s job creators.”

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania small business owners face their own minimum wage battle with Governor Tom Wolf, who this week issued an executive order to increase minimum wages of state workers to $10.15 per hour. Although WHTM-TV reports that the move is “mostly symbolic” because it would only apply to around 450 of the state’s 79,000 workers right away, the governor said he believes the added $1.6 million in budget costs for the measure are worth it. However, NFIB Pennsylvania Director Kevin Shivers said, “The governor has no interest in wanting to support small businesses doing business with the commonwealth.” Pointing to a provision in the executive order that mandates that private contractors that have state contracts also pay their workers $10.15 per hour, Shivers said, “How can you tell an employer, ‘We want you to sell us stuff at the lowest price but at the same time we want you to have highest labor costs of anyone else in your industry.’ It just doesn’t make sense.”

In a third example, Newsday reports on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing efforts to promote his anti-small business legislative agenda and the hefty funding these efforts are receiving from unions. A key cornerstone of this agenda is raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Across America, small businesses are under assault from anti-business groups and politicians looking to score partisan points during an election year by moving to increase wages. Developments in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and New York State are troubling, but small business groups like NFIB will continue to fight against measures that are detrimental to businesses, particularly wage increases that create undue cost burdens.

Additional Reading

NFIB Pennsylvania Communications Director Suzanne Stoltenberg wrote a PennLive op-ed arguing against minimum wage increases, while NFIB Colorado State Director Tony Gagliardi and Job Creators Network President Alfredo Ortiz argued against a minimum wage increase in an op-ed in the Colorado Springs (CO) Gazette.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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