Documents show LePage lied about minimum wage

Documents show LePage lied about minimum wage

In a speech to the Portland Regional Chamber back in April, Governor Paul LePage claimed that he gets “constant emails” from elderly Mainers imploring him not to allow an increase in the minimum wage for fear of price increases.

Two indepependent Freedom of Access requests, one made by Amy Browne, the news and public affairs manager for community radio station WERU, and the other by activist John Berry, have revealed that LePage was dramatically mischaracterizing his correspondence. The documents returned by these requests, and which Berry shared with Beacon, show that LePage only received a single email before his speech that could possibly fit his description.

It’s not surprising that this issue isn’t a significant topic of public concern. Comprehensive studies of past minimum wage increases show any price increases would be miniscule, below even regular increases due to inflation, and would be offset by increased wages for a large swathe of the population and greater economic activity overall as more workers have more money to spend.

The minimum wage increase proposed by Mainers for Fair Wages, a coalition that includes the Maine People’s Alliance, which is slated to be on the ballot in 2016, would increase Maine’s minimum wage from $7.50 to $9 an hour in 2017 and then a dollar a year until it reaches $12 in 2020. It is projected to directly increase wages for 130,000 Mainers.

Photo courtesy of Andi Parkinson.

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