Gov. LePage admits even Republicans aren’t with him on rolling back minimum wage

Gov. LePage admits even Republicans aren’t with him on rolling back minimum wage

Appearing on a conservative talk radio show on Tuesday morning, Governor Paul LePage advocated for the legislature to undo parts of Question 2, which increases taxes on the wealthy to fund education and Question 4, which gradually raises Maine’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020. Both were passed by majority statewide votes last week.

But LePage said he was meeting resistance on both sides of the aisle.

“I’ve heard from Democrats and Republicans both. I’ve heard from folks in the Senate and the House that the people have spoken and we’re going to implement what the people have done,” LePage told hosts Ric Tyler and George Hale on WVOM.

LePage and a group of corporate lobbyists proposed a roll-back of the minimum wage law almost as soon as the referendum passed by a double-digit margin in November, but Democratic control of the House of Representatives (and apparently some Republican recalcitrance as well) may prevent any such attempt from succeeding.

Maine’s minimum wage of $7.50 an hour hasn’t been raised in eight years. Following popular approval by referendum, it will now increase to $9 an hour in January and then by a dollar each year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2020, with cost of living adjustments thereafter. The sub-minimum base wage for tipped workers, which has been stuck at $3.75 an hour since last raised by the legislature, will increase gradually over the next decade until it reaches the full minimum wage in 2027.

The governor said that if legislators continue to resist his proposals, he plans to further disengage from the legislative process.

“I’m just going to be very quiet the next two years. I’m going to do everything possible that I can from the executive branch and I’m just not gonna – I’m gonna try to stay away from fighting with these people. Let them do what they gotta do and I’ll do what I gotta do,” claimed LePage.

Photo via Andi Parkinson.

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