Sen. Miramant blasts attempt to derail minimum wage referendum

Declaring that “too many Mainers work hard at one, two, or three jobs and still can’t provide for their families,” Sen. Dave Miramant, a Democrat representing District 12 on Maine’s Midcoast, has taken a strong public stand against the effort by a group of corporate lobbyists to derail a referendum to increase the state minimum wage through the introduction of a competing measure.

In a column published this week in The Free Press, a Rockland-based newspaper, Miramant urges his fellow senators to follow the lead of their House colleagues and vote down the lobbyists’ competing measure, ensuring a clean vote on citizen initiative advanced by Mainers for Fair Wages to gradually increase Maine’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020.

Earlier this month, the researchers whose work competing measure proponents cited as the reason why they chose a lower, $10-an-hour figure for their proposal revealed that the corporate lobbyists had made a major mathematical error and that their economic arguments actually more accurately applied to a $12 an hour minimum wage.

In addition to describing the importance of a minimum wage increase for Maine families and the economy, Miramant noted the ironic contradiction that “those same lobbyists that fought tooth and nail against raising the minimum wage for years” would now claim they support an increase.

“Why should we trust that they have Maine workers’ backs? Just last year, they said a 50-cent increase in the state’s minimum wage would bring the sky crashing down over Maine businesses, sending workers to the unemployment line. Now, suddenly, they say they can afford an increase of five times that much? Maybe they’ve really seen the light. But even if they have, it’s too little, too late,” writes Miramant. “Our Democratic colleagues in the House have already recognized this “competing measure” for what it is — an effort to defeat the citizen initiative by splitting the vote. The House voted last week to rebuke the competing measure, and I’m urging my Senate colleagues to do the same.”

Photo of Senator Dave Miramant via Andi Parkinson.

Sign up for Beacon newsletters

Our newsletter, sent each evening, curates the day's most important stories from newsrooms around Maine.