Consider wage hike carefully

New Hampshire is the only state in Democrat-heavy New England (plus New York) that features a minimum wage lower than $10.10 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Even some so-called “red states,” signifying their voters’ relatively strong approval of President Donald Trump, realize workers have a hard time making it on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. These include:

• Arkansas, $9.25

• South Dakota, $9.10

• Nebraska, $9.00

• West Virginia, $8.75

• Missouri, $8.60

With this in mind, the Democratic-controlled New Hampshire House of Representatives and the Senate have now passed versions of Senate Bill 10. The legislation endeavors to spike the Granite State’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour on Jan. 1 … and to $12 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2022.

Unless Gov. Chris Sununu vetoes the legislation – and members of the House and Senate subsequently fail to override such a veto – New Hampshire’s minimum wage will jump from $7.25 per hour on Dec. 31 to $10 per hour the very next day.

The House vote this week was 209-139 to approve Senate Bill 10. Senators in March voted strictly along party lines (14-10) to pass the legislation.

We are not sure what Sununu will do once the wage hike eventually gets to his desk, nor are we sure what he should do. Frankly, excellent arguments are presented by those on both sides of the issue.

If an employee earning the current $7.25 minimum wage worked 40 hours per week for 52 weeks in a year, he or she would realize an annual salary of $15,080, or $290 per week.

We hope and believe the VAST majority of those earning minimum wage in this state fall into one of these broad categories:

• Are high school or college students;

• Have a spouse or significant other who earns a higher income;

• Are eligible for some form of disability or compensation benefits and can earn minimum wage as a supplemental income; or

• Are retirees looking to stay busy and supplement their income.

Still, even if Sununu vetoes the legislation, the House and Senate may successfully override him, as recently happened with the death penalty matter.

We ask Sununu to carefully consider the consequences of this minimum wage hike, but also the consequences of a veto. We also ask businesses to brace for impact because even if the governor vetoes the legislation, the House and Senate will surely try to override him.