Consider minimum wage impact

Last week, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, signed legislation that will gradually increase minimum wage for those working in the Bay State to $15 per hour.

Now, New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Molly Kelly wants to do the same in the Granite State.

“People working multiple jobs should know that their hard work will allow them to at least pay the bills and feed their children,” Kelly states on her website in reference to her proposed minimum wage hike.

Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, a standard to which New Hampshire adheres. However, this is the only state in the Northeast to do so.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, other New England states pay hourly minimum wages as follows:

Massachusetts, $11 (scheduled to incrementally increase until reaching $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2023);

Maine, $10 (scheduled to increase to $12 on Jan. 1, 2020);

Vermont, $10.50 (scheduled to increase by 5 percent per year, starting Jan. 1);

Connecticut, $10.10; and

Rhode Island, $10.10 (will go to $10.50 on Jan. 1).

Those who advocate for raising minimum wage often state that no one who works 40 hours per week should fall below the poverty line. This seems to be a valid argument.

However, if restaurants, department stores, grocery stores and other businesses which rely heavily on relatively unskilled workers have to raise their pay rates, they are very likely to pass those costs onto consumers. This will lead to inflation, which makes the cost of living more expensive for everyone.

Granite State leaders should let the laws of supply and demand establish the state’s wage floor. Now that New Hampshire will be surrounded by states with significantly higher minimum wage rates, it stands to reason that businesses in the state will have to increase wages – without government mandates – in the competition for workers.