GOP candidate: Don’t raise Maine’s minimum wage, workers will just spend it on heroin

GOP candidate: Don’t raise Maine’s minimum wage, workers will just spend it on heroin

Rick Snow, the business owner who declared at a press conference last Thursday that he was concerned Maine workers who benefited from a minimum wage increase would just spend their new income on illegal drugs, wasn’t just an invited speaker for the Maine Heritage Policy Center. According to a report by the Huffington Post, he’s also currently a Republican candidate for State Representative and a former LePage administration official once in charge of upholding state minimum wage standards and other workplace protections.

“Where would that money be spent? We’ve heard about the opiate issues in the state of Maine. Are we going to add more income to individuals so they can spend it on illegal activities? I’m very concerned about that,” said Snow during the event opposing Question 4, a minimum wage increase referendum on the ballot this November.

According to Snow’s LinkedIn profile, he served as Director of Maine’s Bureau of Labor Standards from 2011 to 2013. He is currently a Republican candidate for House District 47 in Yarmouth in a rematch with Democratic incumbent Rep. Janice Cooper. He also serves as a board member and past president of the Scarborough Community Chamber of Commerce. Neither the Chamber nor the Maine Heritage Policy Center have commented on his remarks.

“Snow’s baseless attack is deeply insulting to the 181,000 working Mainers and their families who would see their incomes increase with Question 4,” said Mainers for Fair Wages communications director Mike Tipping. “These are EMTs, restaurant servers, home health aides and other hard-working Mainers that he’s talking about. They deserve respect and they deserve a fair wage.”

Low-wage workers whose wages would increase with passage of the referendum include one in three single parents and one in four workers over the age of 55.

When contacted by the Huffington Post, Snow dialed back his rhetoric against Question 4, saying “I think this referendum is not something we should be focusing a lot of money and attention toward,” and noting that he already pays his own employees above the minimum wage.

Image: still from MHPC video stream

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