In December I expect that the Low Wage Board will recommend an increase in the state’s minimum wage. Should that occur, I will not be supporting the board’s decision. Given how the board was legislatively constituted, it is an outcome that should come as no surprise. With the increase to $10.10 in January 2017, Connecticut’s ability to attract and retain businesses will continue to fall and the result of any further increase will result in an explosion in our already unsupportable social service costs.
“We” in Connecticut boast of raising the minimum wage. But for what purpose? “We” said it was to offset the high cost of living in this state. But it looks like it was just another rather nefarious way to justify increasing taxes — like the impending insurance increases, along with a proposed mileage tax. It seems to defeat the intention of raising the minimum wage.
If raising the federal minimum wage would hurt businesses, as many aver, then it stands to reason that lowering the federal standard from $7.25 an hour would help. What are we waiting for? How about $5, perchance $3 an hour? That would be a steroid injection for our sluggish economy. Connecticut, which keeps raising its lowest wage, just doesn’t get it.
It is clear that minimum wage jobs cannot adequately support families in a state like Connecticut. The Federal Poverty Level, which is used widely in determining eligibility for various kinds of assistance, for a family of three is $20,160 and for a family of two is $16,020. The time is now for Connecticut to join the national chorus for fair wages across the board. Empirical evidence shows that when we increase our wages, the median income goes up.