Grassroots fundraising surge boosts initiative to raise Maine’s minimum wage
2,282 individual donors have contributed to the Maine People’s Alliance in support of a citizen-initiated referendum to raise Maine’s minimum wage so far, with a Ballot Question Committee quarterly fundraising report filed today showing total receipts of $170,055.70.
The average individual contribution was $31.62 and 97% of donors live in Maine.
“The response from every corner of the state has been astounding. In just two months, we’ve seen more than 2,000 Mainers give online or in person to canvassers,” said Mainers for Fair Wages campaign manager Amy Halsted. “These supporters, many of them making low wages themselves and contributing what they can, are helping to build a grassroots movement that will raise the wage, boost the economy and help lift more than 130,000 Mainers and their families out of poverty.”
The fundraising totals also include organizational and in-kind support. The report covers the period of April 1st through June 30th, 2015. The campaign was launched on April 16th. MPA reports expenditures during the period of $141,301.87, mostly on signature gathering-related activity.
If the campaign is successful in collecting the required signatures, the minimum wage question will appear on the ballot for the November, 2016 election. The proposed policy would increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2017 and then by a dollar a year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2020. Increases would be indexed to the cost of living in subsequent years. The sub-minimum wage for workers receiving tips would be increased to $5 an hour in 2017 and then gradually raised until it reaches the same level as the regular minimum wage after 2024.
“Nobody should be working 40 hours a week and be homeless, like my husband and I both were,” said Katie Logue, who works as a gas station cashier for $9 an hour and made a contribution to the campaign. “Raising the minimum wage would mean we could afford a few more of the basics that we sometimes overlook, like health insurance for me, or fixing the car now that it makes this awful noise, or keeping some food in the house. I need to fight for this minimum wage increase because no family should have to work as hard as we do (and harder) to make barely enough to survive.”
Visit FairWageMaine.com to contribute to or volunteer for the campaign to raise Maine’s minimum wage.
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