Utterly disgusting, despicable, shameful, disgraceful, and appalling are all words I would use to describe the actions taken by the Republican Senators in the NH Senate today as they voted to kill the minimum wage increase.
Straight down party lines the Senate voted 13-11 to kill the minimum wage bill that would have helped lift 76,000 Granite Staters out of poverty.
“Later this evening, a sales clerk in Derry or a waitress in Hampton will return home from a hard day’s work and will have to decide whether to pay the bills on her kitchen table or to go to the grocery store – because she doesn’t have enough to do both,” said Jeff McLynch, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute. “The Senate had an opportunity today to ease their struggles and the difficulties faced by thousands of New Hampshire residents like them. Yet, rather than pass a modest, gradual, and sustained increase in New Hampshire’s minimum wage, the Senate simply walked away.”
“Senate Republicans have again voted against the best interests of Granite State families,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley.
“I am disappointed that Senate Republicans voted today against a bill to restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage, a measure that an overwhelming majority of Granite Staters support because it would strengthen our economy and help improve the economic security of working families,” stated Governor Hassan.
“Increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage will lead to more economic growth by rewarding hard work and improving workers’ productivity,” stated Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen. “Senate Democrats believe we must raise the minimum wage, because increasing the minimum wage leads to greater income opportunity, so everyone will have a chance to succeed and get ahead.”
“Senate Republicans had the chance to put partisan politics aside and do the right thing for the 76,000 residents of New Hampshire who would benefit from this bill, but they failed them with this vote today,” concluded Larsen.
The minimum wage increase would have helped 76,000 low-income workers including. The facts do not lie, 72% of the New Hampshire’s minimum wage workers, who would directly or indirectly benefit from this bill are age 20 and older with nearly 40% being 30 and older. 59% are women and 14% are parents. Increasing the minimum wage would have benefited over 21,000 children are living NH.
Due to inflation and legislative inaction, New Hampshire’s minimum wage has lost 23 percent of its purchasing power since 1979. Failure to adopt a new increase means that the real value of the minimum wage could fall to just $6.50 per hour within the next several years.
“New England can be an expensive place to live,” McLynch added. “Policymakers in every other state in the region have acknowledged this reality and set their minimum wages above the federal level. Only New Hampshire expects people to continue to stretch $7.25 per hour to meet that high cost of living.”
“A Senate Republican making $185,000 a year called the minimum wage bill ‘feel good legislation’ but refused to spend even one day living in the shoes of his constituents who makes less than ten percent of his salary, even when they are working full-time,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, in reference to Senator Peter Bragdon’s opening remarks. “Senator Bradley chose to use industry talking points instead of rely on economic data, and Senator Sanborn voted against the bill without disclosing the conflict of interest that he pays some of his workers minimum wage.”
“In contrast, several Senate Democrats took the Minimum Wage Challenge to live on minimum wage before voting on this bill. That experience illustrated for them the lack of affordable housing options, the slim budgets, and the constant anxiety that a minimum wage earner lives with every day. Questions about how to put gas in your tank and food on the table become very real when you don’t have a $185,000 golden salary to live on. Minimum wage earners work hard and play by the rules, but Senate Republicans sent a message loud and clear that they don’t care,” Rice Hawkins said. (Read full statement from GSP here)
“Senate Republicans have again voted against the best interests of Granite State families,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. “No one who works full time in New Hampshire should have to live in abject poverty, but that’s the world we live in because of GOP obstructionism. Raising the minimum wage would not only help lift thousands of families out of poverty, but it would also stimulate our local economy and alleviate pressure on our public assistance programs. The Republican Senate caucus, not to mention gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and Senate candidate Scott Brown, should be ashamed of themselves. By opposing this commonsense measure, they are effectively damning the families that most need our help.”
“People working full-time in New Hampshire should be paid enough to support their families and I will continue fighting to restore and improve our state minimum wage in order to boost our economy and strengthen the economic security of thousands of Granite Staters,” concluded Hassan.