Maine House votes to advance minimum wage referendum

Maine House votes to advance minimum wage referendum

In a 78-to-69 vote, the Maine House of Representatives today voted down an attempt by an alliance of corporate lobbyists to delay or derail a vote on a minimum wage increase this November. While there will still be more votes in the legislature, the strong showing in the House means the citizen initiative will likely not face a competing measure on the ballot.

The initiative that the Mainers for Fair Wages coalition gathered more than 75,000 signatures to place on the ballot this November would increase Maine’s minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2017 and then a dollar a year to $12 an hour in 2020. The wage would then increase with the cost of living and the sub-minimum wage for workers who receive tips would be increased to the full minimum wage over a longer period of time.

“I speak on behalf of hundreds of small business owners across the state when I say thank you to the Maine House of Representatives for supporting a clean vote on a real minimum wage increase,” said Maine Small Business Coalition director Will Ikard in a public statement after the vote. “In November, Mainers will have a chance to vote on an initiative that will raise wages for 159,000 Mainers working hard jobs and struggling to get by, and it will put more money into local economies, lifting all boats and helping small businesses compete. The action the Maine House took today was both morally right and economically vital.”

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