State Senators asked to walk a mile in shoes of constituents before casting vote on minimum wage bill
CONCORD, NH – Several members of the New Hampshire Raise the Wage Coalition are calling for State Senators to live on minimum wage for one week before voting on whether to raise the state’s minimum wage. The request was made during the Senate Finance committee public hearing on HB 1403 today, and echoed in an email sent to all State Senators shortly after the public hearing ended.
HB 1403 would raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage in two stages and provide for annual cost of living increases in the future. It would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2015 and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. Beginning January 1, 2017, it would automatically increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage to account for inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index. Raising the wage would directly impact 48,000 workers and another 28,000 would experience an indirect increase, ultimately benefiting 76,000 New Hampshire workers and the overall economy in the state.
Organizations calling on the State Senate to live a week on minimum wage include Granite State Progress, NEA-New Hampshire, NH Citizens Alliance, Every Child Matters, and the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ – Economic Justice Ministry Team. All of the groups are members of the New Hampshire Raise the Wage coalition.
“The average minimum wage earner in New Hampshire is an adult earning less than $300 a week,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “These are people with real breadwinner responsibilities trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. We are calling on our State Senators to better understand the plight of these Granite State families by spending a week living in their shoes. They will find out what it’s really like to plan a budget, buy groceries, find a place to live and manage transportation in New Hampshire on under $300 a week.”
“There are lots of facts and figures tossed around when politicians debate an issue. The Minimum Wage Challenge will make sure this discussion is grounded in the real-life choices confronted by tens of thousands of Granite State workers who are trying to get by on just $7.25 an hour,” Rice Hawkins said.
Organizations issuing the call have offered State Senators who participate an opportunity to meet with local advocates to review housing options and visit the grocery store together, among other things. Press interested in these activities can contact Granite State Progress.