THOUSANDS OF JOBS ON THE LINE IF QUESTION 4 PASSES
PORTLAND (September 23, 2016): The state’s leading
small business advocacy group, the National Federation of Independent Business
(NFIB), together with the Employees Policy Institute (EPI) held a roundtable
discussion this morning with small business owners to discuss the results of a
recent study conducted by EPI regarding the impact that raising the minimum
wage would have on small employers in the state of Maine.
“The results of EPI’s study are absolutely astonishing. If
$12 an hour is passed by voters in Maine this November, we are facing the
potential loss of over 3,800
jobs,” according to NFIB Maine state director, David Clough. “The findings show
that while the retail and food service industries stand to lose the most jobs,
the economic impact of implementing such a dramatic wage increase will affect jobs
across all industries in the state.”
“Question 4” on Maine’s ballot this Election Day will ask
voters whether or not they support jumping the minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2017 and
ramping it up to $12 an hour by the
year 2020. A recent attempt to raise the rate to $15
an hour in Portland proved unsuccessful in spite of proponent’s aggressive
public relations campaign
to push the measure.
“Last year’s defeat of $15 an hour in Portland proved that
drastically increasing the minimum wage is not palatable to voters.
Dropping the increase to $12 does not mitigate the economic damage that will
occur if small business owners statewide are
required to pay a wage rate that they simply cannot sustain,” continued Clough.
“Not only will the higher wage rate threaten current
jobs, it will impact future hiring and
make it more difficult for many small businesses to survive another recession.
Existing employees could see
a reduction in hours, or worse yet, elimination of their position.”
According to the study, contrary to supporters claims that
employees of larger retail businesses like big
box stores will bear the brunt of the wage increase, half of the employees
impacted by $12 an hour minimum wage work at businesses with fewer than 100
employees, 42 percent have less than 50 employees, and approximately 18 percent
of those affected work in small businesses with less than 10 employees.
“Our hope is that voters will consider the harmful effects that Question 4 will have on workers and small
business owners – and our state’s economy. We
believe voters will recognize that what exists in the Portland area may
create tremendous trouble for employers and workers in more rural areas where
economic conditions are more fragile, by casting a “No” vote in November,”