Congresswoman Annie Kuster Unveils Women’s Economic Agenda

Annie Kuster Women economic agenda

During roundtable discussion, Rep. Kuster was joined by New Hampshire women business leaders, female students, and other women who shared their stories and called for Congress to prioritize Kuster initiatives to improve the economic security of Granite State women

Annie Kuster Women economic agenda

(Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | Congresswoman Annie Kuster joins with Granite State women to unveil her Women’s Economic Agenda)

NASHUA, N.H. – On the heels of Equal Pay day, this morning Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) unveiled her new “Women’s Economic Agenda,” a plan for Congress to help level the playing field for New Hampshire women. A diverse group of female business owners and other women joined Kuster in unveiling her plan. These women shared their personal stories with Kuster, and underscored the need for leadership in Congress on issues that affect their ability to succeed in this economy. This morning’s event kicked off a series of roundtable discussions Kuster will hold to hear from women throughout the Second District during the next two weeks.

“It is astonishing that even in the 21st Century, women continue to make only 77 cents to the dollar of their male counterparts’ salary. We must prioritize initiatives that will help eliminate the wage gap between genders and encourage women to pursue successful careers during these challenging economic times,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Today, I unveiled my new Women’s Economic Agenda, which outlines a list of initiatives that Congress must pursue in order to level the playing field for Granite State women and support their full economic success.”

Kuster’s new Economic Agenda includes initiatives to address the wage gap between genders, the importance of a fair minimum wage, tax relief for working families, efforts to better support women entrepreneurs, the urgent need to invest in the education of our children from early-childhood through college, the need for women’s comprehensive reproductive health care, and the importance of job training and workforce development, among other issues. Participants in this morning’s event included local women who shared their personal stories and representatives from a variety of New Hampshire organizations who support efforts to bolster women’s economic success.

“I was so grateful to hear from the Granite State women who shared their own personal stories with me today. Their stories demonstrate the extreme need for Congress to prioritize the initiatives I outlined in my Women’s Economic Agenda, and it is on behalf of them that I will continue to fight for things like equal pay, access to childcare, more contracting opportunities for women business owners, and so many other issues that are crucial to the success of our women professionals.”

“Fair pay, access to childcare, workforce development, small business ownership and job training programs affect not only the success of women, but of every Granite State family. These are issues that we all must embrace in order to support the economic development of our great state. I’m so appreciative that Congresswoman Kuster is taking the time to fight for the issues that matter most to our women and our families back in Washington,” said MaryAnn Manoogian, Director of the Center for Women’s Business Advancement at Southern New Hampshire University.

As a member of the United States’ first all-female Congressional delegation, Kuster has worked to level the playing field and create equal opportunities for Granite State women since taking office. She is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would increase the effectiveness of remedies available to victims of pay discrimination on the basis of gender, and she has successfully pushed the President to issue executive orders to support fair pay for federally contracted employees.  Kuster has also hosted a series of roundtable discussions with women business leaders from New Hampshire to hear directly from them about what she can do on the federal level to help New Hampshire women succeed in the workplace. These roundtables helped inform the crafting of her Women’s Economic Agenda. During the two-week April work period, Kuster will hold discussions with New Hampshire women from a variety of fields throughout the Second District, and she is committed to fighting for their best interests in Congress.

CEOs Paid 331 Times Average Worker, 774 Times Minimum Wage Worker

Executive Pay Watch

Executive Pay Watch

2014 Executive PayWatch exposes high paid CEOs in the low wage economy

www.PayWatch.org

While Congress has left for recess failing to fully address economic issues from the minimum wage to unemployment insurance and equal pay, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka unveiled the 2014 Executive PayWatch today. According to its data, U.S. CEOs – the highest paid in the world – pocketed, on average, $11.7 million in 2013 compared to the average worker who earned $35,293. That means CEOs were paid 331 times that of the average worker.

Many of the CEOs highlighted in PayWatch head companies, like Walmart, that are notorious for paying low wages. In 2013, CEOs made 774 times more than those who work for minimum wage. And while many of these companies argue that they can’t afford to raise wages, the nation’s largest companies are earning higher profits per employee than they did five years ago. In 2013, the S&P 500 Index companies earned $41,249 in profits per employee, a 38% increase.

This year, PayWatch highlights five low wage companies through worker testimonials at Walmart, Kellogg’s, Reynolds, Darden Restaurants and T-Mobile.

“These companies are run by short-sighted business leaders, because people who earn minimum wage, for instance, can’t afford cell phones from T-Mobile or dinner at Red Lobster or the Olive Garden, both of which are owned by Darden Restaurants,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “America’s CEOs—as exemplified by the individuals of these companies—are cannibalizing their own consumer base. It’s wrong. It’s unfair, and it’s bad economics.”

PayWatch is the most comprehensive searchable online database tracking the excessive pay of CEOs of the nation’s largest companies. It offers visitors to the website the unique ability to compare their own pay to the pay of top executives.

“CEO Executive PayWatch calls attention to the insane level of compensation for CEOs, while the workers who create those corporate profits struggle for enough money to take care of the basics,” said Trumka. “This database is relevant to every community in the country. And we’ll use this data to organize and mobilize to lift millions of workers out of poverty and to strengthen the middle class.”

What Does It Take To Live In Your State? (Interactive Graphic)

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 1.47.13 PM

This is a great interactive way to see exactly what it takes to live on the minimum wage.

For New Hampshire a single man/women would need to work 46.9 hours to meet the living wage.  For a couple with two children the number jumps to 64.1 hours a week or a living wage of $20.15 per hour.

If you have trouble interacting with the image, detailed directions below.  Special thanks to Sophia Coppolla (Accountingschoolguide.com) for sending us this image.


Source: Accountingschoolguide.com

How To Interact With this Graphic

1. Adjust the slider at the bottom to match your wage.

2. On the left, select how many adults and children are in your household.

3. Select a state to see where you fall between a poverty wage and a living wage.
- States that are brighter mean that you would earn closer to a living wage in that state.
- States that are darker mean that you would earn closer to a poverty wage in that state.
- The light blue triangle above the wage slider shows the minimum wage for that state.
- The dark blue triangle below the wage slider shows the federal minimum wage.
- The box above your wage listing shows how many hours a week you would have to work just to earn a living wage.

4. To see the nation divided into counties, click on “County View”. To see the nation divided into states, click on “State View”.

5. To zoom in on a particular state, first select the state then click on the plus sign that appears in the corner.
- While zoomed in, you can click on individual counties to see their poverty/living wages.
- To return to the national view, click anywhere outside of the state.

Raising The Minimum Wage Would Improve The Lives Of 4 Million African-Americans

Image via Wiki-Commons
Image via Wiki-Commons

Image via Wiki-Commons

A new study conducted by the AFL-CIO confirms 4,123,000 African American workers would benefit if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour. The study, “Closing the Gap to the American Dream,” which uses information provided by the Economic Policy Institute, found that while African Americans make up 11% of the workforce, up to 14.8% of those workers would benefit from a raise in the minimum wage.

“Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would improve the lives of more than 4 million African Americans,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “This pay raise is vital if we want to get our economy back to pre-recession levels. This is why the AFL-CIO has launched a Raising Wages campaign, to hold Congress accountable to the American people and demand that they raise the minimum wage for the dignity of workers and the sake of our economy and country.”

The report details the state of economic insecurity for many African Americans, who are much more likely to be paid lower wages than others. African Americans often have trouble finding a job, and if they are working, struggle to save for retirement. Hiking the minimum wage to $10.10 would greatly help African American workers across the country.

AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Director Carmen Berkley said, “Raising the minimum wage is critical to African American communities across this nation. With national unemployment for African Americans still lingering in the double digits, any help from President Obama and Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for jobs that African Americans already hold would be welcomed and a boost to our economy.”

The EPI report also highlights that between 2000 and 2007, African American men saw a decrease in weekly earnings of 2.3% compared with white workers, while African American women saw a 3.2% increase in weekly earnings. From 2007 to 2012, the report found that African American women only saw a 1.5% increase in their weekly earnings, lower than white women, while African American men saw virtually no change in their weekly earnings.

Click here to view the report

For more information on the AFL-CIO’s Raising Wages campaign, visithttp://go.aflcio.org/ClosingTheGap

 

New White House Reports Shows Women Benefit The Most From A Minimum Wage Increase

Women and the Minimum Wage

The growing income inequality has become a major issue in the United States in recent years.  Much of this debate has surrounded by the failure of the minimum wage to keep up with the ever-growing cost of living.

There have been many studies done by numerous think tanks that show if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour it will lift millions of low-wage workers out of poverty.  While the opponents of a minimum wage increase like to say that many of the low-wage workers are just teenagers earning extra spending money, the truth could not be farther from the truth.

“Most people who would get a raise if we raise the minimum wage are not teenagers on their first job – their average age is 35.  A majority of lower-wage jobs are held by women.  These Americans are working full-time, often supporting families, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with our economy’s productivity, they’d already be earning well over $10 an hour today.  Instead, it’s stuck at $7.25.  Every time Congress refuses to raise it, it loses value because the cost of living goes higher, minimum wage stays the same.”

- President Obama, Remarks at Central Connecticut State University, March 5, 2014

The wage gap between men and women has also come to the forefront of the low-wage discussion with recent political pushes for legislation like paycheck fairness and the Lily Ledbetter Act.

The fact is that women are the majority of low-wage workers, over 55%, of the people who would be effected by a minimum wage increase.  This is even more evident when we talk about the tipped minimum wage.  Women make up 75% of workers in tipped occupations.

Women and the Minimum Wage

Many states have a reduced minimum wage for tipped workers. For example the tipped minimum wage in New Hampshire is $3.27 an hour.  This means the employer, the restaurant, only has to pay employees $3.27 an hour provided the employee makes enough in tips to ensure that they are paid the state minimum wage ($7.25).   19 states have a tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour, while six states do not have any reduced minimum for tipped workers.

Tipped Minimum Wage by State

The truth is that workers in predominantly tipped occupations are twice as likely as other workers to experience poverty, and servers are almost three times as likely to be in poverty.  It is glaringly obvious that workers who rely on tips are not making enough to support themselves or their families.

Just like the minimum wage, the power of the tipped wage has eroded over the last 20 years since it was last increased.  Since 1991, the tipped minimum wage has declined by 40 percent in real terms.  Today, the tipped minimum wage equals just 29 percent of the full minimum wage, the lowest share since the tipped minimum wage was established in 1966.

 

Tipped wages lost value

Another major issue with the tipped minimum wage is that not all employees are making enough in tips to reach the minimum wage. When surveyed, more than 1 in 10 workers in predominantly tipped occupations report hourly wages below the full national minimum wage, including tips.

Raising the full minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage will help reduce poverty among women and their families, as well as make progress toward closing the gender pay gap.

  • About one-quarter (26 percent) of all workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 have dependent children, and 31 percent of female workers who would benefit have children.
  • 2.8 million working single parents would benefit from the President’s proposed increase in the full minimum wage, more than 80 percent of whom are women.
  • Research shows that raising the minimum wage reduces child poverty among female-headed households.
  • Increasing the minimum wage can also help women work their way out of poverty and into the middle class.
  • For every dollar that men earn, women earn just 77 cents. Estimates from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers suggest that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and indexing it to inflation could close about 5 percent of the gender wage gap.

Chances are that you know someone who works hard in a low-wage job who will benefit from an increase in the minimum wage.  Raising the minimum wage will help workers lift themselves out of poverty and reduce the amount of money they receive from government assistance programs.   Raising the minimum wage is common sense. America needs a long overdue raise, and the time is now.

 

Read the full White House report: THE IMPACT OF RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE ON WOMEN – March 2014

 

Granite State Rumblings: Technology in (and outside of) the Classroom, Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

Every Child Matters2

Every Child MattersIt is amazing how reliant we have become on technology in the past decade.  And it is even more amazing how important technology has become in education.  We didn’t take computer classes when I was in school, we took typing.  And I wasn’t very good at it, although I have gotten better as I’ve aged.

But imagine what it is like for kids today. Spidey at 6 years old knows more about apps and my iPad than I do. When I run into a problem on my laptop, I hear, “Grandma, want some help?”  He is fortunate because as he gets further into his public education, he will have a leg up on some other children in his class. He lives in a home where the Internet and devices are available 24/7.

Access to the Internet connects kids to all kinds of information — and for low-income students especially, that access has the power to change their social structure by allowing them to become empowered and engaged, says Michael Mills, a professor of Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Arkansas.

A Pew Research survey in 2012 of more than 2,400 middle school and high school Advanced Placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers  shows that, while teachers believe technology has helped with their teaching, it’s also brought new challenges — including the possibility of creating a bigger rift between low-income and high-income students.

Here are a few highlights from that report:

  • A large majority of these teachers (84%) agree to some extent with the statement that “Today’s digital technologies are leading to greater disparities between affluent and disadvantaged schools and school districts.” However, asked whether today’s digital technologies are narrowing or widening the gap between the most and least academically successful students, 44% say technology is narrowing the gap and 56% say it is widening the gap.
  • These teachers see disparities in access to digital tools having at least some impact on their students. More than half (54%) say all or almost all of their students have sufficient access to digital tools at school, but only a fifth of these teachers (18%) say all or almost all of their students have access to the digital tools they need at home.
  • Access to devices is noticeably different between higher and lower and income schools. More than half of teachers — 55% — of higher income students say they or their students use e-readers in the classroom, compared with 41%  teaching in low income areas. And 52% of teachers of upper and upper-middle income students say their students use cell phones to look up information in class, compared with 35% of teachers of the lowest income students.
  • Apart from access to devices, knowing how best to use them is also a problem for low-income students. The survey showed that 39% of AP and NWP teachers of low income students say their school is “behind the curve” when it comes to effectively using digital tools in the learning process; just 15% of teachers of higher income students rate their schools poorly in this area.
  • 33% of teachers of lower income students say their school’s rules about classroom cell phone use by students have a major impact on their teaching, compared with 15% of those who teach students from the highest income households.

Teachers of the lowest income students are the least likely to say their students have sufficient access to the digital tools they need, both in school and at home. In terms of community type, teachers in urban areas are the least likely to say their students have sufficient access to digital tools IN SCHOOL, while rural teachers are the least likely to say their students have sufficient access AT HOME.

As there are projects being piloted all across the country exploring the potential of mobile learning, especially as it relates to reaching out to disenfranchised students, the most recent results from Project K-Nect seem that much more relevant.

Project K-Nect is a pilot program that began during the 2007-2008 school year to discover if 24/7 connected smartphones could play a role in enhancing student engagement and learning. The project addressed the need to improve math skills among at-risk students in North Carolina who scored poorly in math and did not have access to the Internet at home. Algebra I digital content aligned with current lesson plans was created and students were encouraged to learn from each other in and out of the classroom. Students did so by using social networking applications on the smartphone, as well as other Internet resources such as algebra.com.

  • By the end of the fall 2010 semester, 89 percent of the Algebra I students reported they are more motivated to learn math compared to 76 percent at the beginning of the semester.
  • 90 percent of the Project K-Nect students in Algebra I and 100 percent of the Algebra II students demonstrated proficiency on their end of course exams.
  • By the end of the fall 2010 semester, 89 percent of the Algebra I students reported they are more motivated to learn math compared to 76 percent at the beginning of the semester.
  • The majority of students reported they are also more comfortable learning math (83 percent), felt more successful (72 percent) and better prepared to take the end-of course exam (72 percent).
  • By the end of the semester, the number of students who thought, “math is easy” more than doubled from 29 percent to 61 percent.
  • Algebra I students expressed an interest in taking additional math classes, including Advanced Placement courses.
  • They also said they are more interested in attending college (56 percent) or pursuing a degree or career that would use their math skills (33 percent).

What’s more, the report states that “students’ increased use of and familiarity with technology through Project K-Nect helps students easily integrate the use of technology to other curricular areas.”

As we hear educators to government officials to industry experts, lament the lackluster abilities and performance of our nations’ students in science, technology, engineering and math (know as STEM education), shouldn’t we be looking at ways to get and keep students interested and motivated in learning?

I haven’t seen one kid yet who isn’t interested in one new app or another on a smartphone, have you? So why not use that to their advantage in the classroom?

Growing Up Granite

It is time to ensure that all 24 State Senators know why New Hampshire needs to raise the minimum wage. HB1403 is headed their way.

Here is some important information to share with them from our friends at the NH Fiscal Policy Institute.

Nearly five years after the end of the national recession, low-wage workers in New Hampshire continue to struggle to make ends meet.  Since 2009, wages for the lowest-paid fifth of New Hampshire workers have fallen by 5.6 percent after adjusting for inflation.  At the same time, the state’s poverty rate – 10 percent in 2012 – remains considerably higher than what it was at the start of the downturn – 7.1 percent in 2007.

One of the factors that has likely contributed to such economic insecurity is the neglect of New Hampshire’s minimum wage.  At $7.25 per hour, it is currently the lowest in New England and has lost substantial purchasing power over the past several decades.

A measure now before the New Hampshire legislature seeks to strengthen the minimum wage and to begin to build an economy that works for everyone in the Granite State.  More specifically, HB 1403 would raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage in two steps:  from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2015 and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016.  The measure would also require automatic annual cost of living adjustments, based on the Consumer Price Index, beginning in 2017. Read the entire brief here.

In Brief:

  • New Hampshire’s minimum wage has lost over 23 percent of its purchasing power in the last 35 years and is well below what workers need to make ends meet.
  • New Hampshire’s minimum wage is the lowest in New England and will fall even further behind in the years ahead.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour would directly or indirectly increase the wages of 75,800 workers – or 12 percent of New Hampshire’s workforce.
  • Most of the workers who would be affected are women, adults, and employed at least half time.
  • A $9.00 minimum wage would produce an average wage increase of $870 per year for affected workers and generate $64 million in additional wages statewide.
  • A higher minimum wage could have benefits for the New Hampshire economy: greater consumer demand, reduced turnover, and higher productivity.

 

This Morning: The “Give America a Raise” Bus Tour Comes to Nashua

Give America a Raise

Give America a RaiseWashington DC – Americans agree: No one who works should live in poverty. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening to workers around the country who are earning the current minimum wage. While the federal minimum wage has stayed the same since 2009, the price of food, gas, utilities, and basic necessities has, with inflation, made it nearly impossible to live anywhere in America on $7.25 an hour or $15,000 a year.

 It’s long past time for Congress to give America a raise. And to help drive the point home, Americans United for Change has hit the road with the 11-State “Give America a Raise” Bus Tour supporting President Obama’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.  The tour will end outside the U.S. Capitol on April 3.

Next stop: in front of the Nashua Public Library TODAY, Tuesday, March 25 at 9:30 AM, with Rev. Gail Kinney of South Danbury Christian Church and US Department of Labor official Laura Fortman.

It’s been more than five years since minimum wage workers have gotten a raise – workers that include child care providers, janitors, and nursing assistants and who are 35 years old on average. It was hard enough to live on $15,000 a year in 2009, and it’s near impossible in 2014.

All that stands in the way of stronger economy – built from the middle out – are Tea Party Republicans in Congress who only seem to care about voting for minimum tax responsibility for huge corporations that outsource jobs.

Raising the minimum wage would provide a needed boost not just for the millions of struggling low-wage American workers that can barely survive on $7.25, but for the U.S. economy as a whole.  It will create jobs because it puts more money in the pockets of workers who will quickly inject it back into the economy. Millions of people with more money to spend on goods and services means businesses will need to hire more workers to meet the demand.  Decades’ worth of research done after previous minimum wage increases shows nothing but net economic benefits as a result, which is why so many successful business leaders and over 600 economists are calling on Congress to raise it again now.

No one who works a full-time job should have to live in poverty.

According to MIT, the living wage in Nashua is $21,422 a year be able to afford housing, medical care, transportation and food. If full-time New Hampshire workers made $10.10 an hour, they would earn $21,008 a year.

#RaiseTheWage

One ‘Modest Proposal’? Or the other?

clover

cloverI couldn’t help it.  This year, on Saint Patrick’s Day, I didn’t feel much like partying.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Ireland’s Great Famine — and hearing echoes across the centuries, right here in the United States, as the working class endures Year Seven of their Great Recession (while the elite are taking home more money than ever).

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one thinking along those lines.  If you can take three minutes to read “Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia” you’ll see what I mean.

[In the 1840s] A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a “culture of dependency”? Certainly England’s man in charge of easing the famine, Sir Charles Trevelyan, thought so. “Dependence on charity,” he declared, “is not to be made an agreeable mode of life.”

That Great Famine, of course, wasn’t the first time Ireland’s poor had been ravaged by economic conditions.

In 1729, Irish author Jonathan Swift (writing anonymously) tried to call attention to the plight of the poor — and the heartless attitudes of the rich — through his classic satire, “A Modest Proposal.”

The plight of the poor… versus the attitudes of the rich.  Some things don’t ever seem to change.

I found an interesting chart on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. It compares the amount of federal taxes paid by corporations (red line) with the amount of profit that corporations pay out to their stockholders as dividends (blue line).

And it looks like during all those decades when the American Middle Class was thriving, corporations were paying about the same amount in taxes to the federal government as they were paying in dividends to their stockholders.

  • Corporate taxes help the federal government fund the various infrastructures that businesses need to thrive, including transportation (highways, bridges, ports); the court system (contract enforcement); public safety and law enforcement.  These days, large employers like WalMart, McDonalds and the country’s biggest banks also depend on safety-net programs such as Medicaid and Food Stamps to supplement their workers’ low wages.
  • Dividends represent the payout of corporate revenues which were not spent on wages/benefits or invested in expansion (new factories, new equipment, new product development, new employees).  To the stockholders, they are “passive earnings” — similar to the bank interest most of us used to earn on money in our savings accounts — money that you get simply because you already have money.

All the way up until Ronald Reagan signed “The Tax Reform Act of 1986″, it looks like those two amounts were pretty much equal: what corporations paid as taxes, and what they paid out as dividends.

So I’d like to make a “Modest Proposal” of my own: let’s go back to that tradition.

From the chart, it looks like that single change would add about $380 billion a year in federal revenues: enough to fund the Food Stamp program four times over (and still have billions to spend other things).

Restore corporate tax levels.

MY “Modest Proposal” isn’t intended as a satire. And it would be a lot easier to swallow than Jonathan Swift’s.

Just sayin’.

The New Hampshire House Passes Minimum Wage Increase

NHhouse

The New Hampshire House of Representatives today by a vote of 173 to 118 approved HB 1403, a bill to increase the state minimum wage to $9.00 an hour over two years and apply cost of living adjustments in future years. New Hampshire’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and the wage has remained at this level since 2008.

“New Hampshire’s current minimum wage leaves workers struggling to get by,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch. “Raising the minimum wage and ensuring it is adjusted for the cost of living in future years would help families make ends meet, boost sales at local businesses, and put New Hampshire on a path towards an economy that works for everyone.”

HB 1403 would increase the minimum wage 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).

An analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute indicates that HB 1403 would either directly or indirectly increase the wages of 76,000 Granite Staters. Of those who would be affected, 72 percent are adults age 20 and older; 32 percent work full-time; 59 percent are women; and 14 percent are parents.

On average, those who would be affected by a $9.00 minimum wage would see their pay go up by $870 per year. As minimum wage workers spend every dollar they earn, this spending will boost the bottom lines of stores, shops, and businesses in communities across the state while adding $64 million to the New Hampshire economy over the next two years.

The WMUR Granite State Poll released on February 6 found that 76% of state residents support increasing the minimum wage to $9.00. The poll question asked respondents if they supported an increase to $8.25 in 2015 and to $9 an hour in 2016. Across the political spectrum, the majority of Democrats (91%), Republicans (64%), and Independents (70%) favored this proposed increase to the minimum wage.

“I applaud members of the House of Representatives for their recognition of the need to restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage,” said Governor Hassan. “In order for economic growth to truly accelerate, working families and individuals must be confident in their own financial circumstances and able to afford critical goods and services.”

Governor Hassan continued, “This measure will help improve the financial security of working families and people of all ages and will support businesses by putting more money in the pockets of their consumers. I look forward to working with members of the Senate, as well as workers, businesses and all stakeholders, to strengthen our state’s economic future by restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage.”

“The legislators were not swayed by false testimony or attempts to weaken the bill,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “We all know that a strong minimum wage means more money in the pockets of families and more money in the cash registers of local businesses. Raising the wage is a win-win situation for our whole economy and we strongly encourage the Senate to support it.”

“The vote in the House today signals a strong desire to help working people and we are proud of the legislators who voted with us,” continued Rice-Hawkins.  “Three-quarters of Granite Staters, including majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, also support increasing the minimum wage to $9 per hour.”

Now everything lies in the Senate.  Will they do what is right for Granite Staters or hold fast to the anti-worker ideology of the current Republican Party?

The Video That Could Change Your Entire Outlook On The Casino Gambling Bill And The Gas Tax

Diana Lacey Screen Shot Video

Once a week the State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984) sends out their Statehouse Bulletin. The bulletin highlights what the SEA is doing legislatively in Concord.  Every week they post a summary of what bills passed, what bills failed, and what bills are coming in the next week.  This week had all of that, and a little more.

This week’s bulletin had a special video message from SEA President Diana Lacey.  The video is a ‘call to arms’ for all of the SEA members to help convince their state legislators to pass two very important bills, the Gas Tax bill (SB 367), and the Casino bill (HB1633).

While this video was intended for the SEA membership, I feel that everyone in New Hampshire should listen to what President Lacey has to say.

Whether you support expanded gambling and the gas tax increase or not you should know what this will mean to hundreds of state workers. Will it mean more devastating cuts, and more layoffs, or will it mean new jobs for public and private workers?

Please take five minutes to listen to Diana’s message.

Share this post with your friends and family throughout the Granite State to ensure that everyone knows exactly what is at stake if these two bills do not pass this week.

The SEA has started a ‘Save Our Roads’ petition, which you can sign here.

Use this link to find your State Senator and ask them to support the gas tax increase (SB 367).

Use this link to find your State Representative and ask them to support the expanded casino gambling bill (HB 1633).