A long, dishonest history of opposition to raising Maine’s minimum wage

A long, dishonest history of opposition to raising Maine’s minimum wage

Maine politics and media critic Al Diamon has dug through years of old press reports for his latest column and says the facts clearly show that the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and other opponents of the referendum to raise Maine’s minimum wage gradually to $12 by 2020 are lying “in a feeble attempt to divide wage-hike supporters.”

Diamon tears apart claims by corporate lobbyists that their support for a weaker, slower minimum wage increase, which failed to pass as a competing measure in the legislature this year, is anything other than a political ploy. In particular he tracks the statements of Chamber lobbyist Peter Gore, who has argued against minimum wage increases for more than 20 years, and who has been consistently wrong in his predictions of economic effects.

“For instance, in 1988, they claimed adding a dime an hour to the base wage of $3.75 would wreck the state’s economy,” writes Diamon. “The Democratic Legislature did so anyway. The economy hardly noticed.”

Diamon chronicles opposition to wage increases from the same lobbyists now opposing the referendum in 1988, 1990, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. (They also opposed even a 50-cent increase just last year.)

His conclusion: “There are two kinds of people claiming to support a higher minimum wage in Maine:

1. Those who genuinely believe raising the minimum from $7.50 per hour to $12 in several steps by voting for a referendum on the November ballot will improve the lives of folks who are struggling to make ends meet, and …

2. Liars.”

Read the whole column here.


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