Exercise caution with wage

Most earning minimum wage in New Hampshire surely must meet one of these four definitions:

• Young people who are just beginning their working years;

• College or high school students;

• Have a spouse or a significant other who earns a larger income; or.

• Retirees who have other sources of income.

We say this because at the rate of $7.25 per hour, working 40 hours per week for 52 weeks per year, one would only earn $15,080 for said year. This is nowhere near enough for one to support him or herself in New Hampshire.

Both chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature are now considering measures to raise the state’s minimum wage. Proponents argue the wage is far too low.

“Seven dollars and twenty-five cents wasn’t a living wage in 2009 and it certainly isn’t a living wage in 2019,” state Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, said. “When it comes to ensuring decent wages for our workers, New Hampshire is far from first.”

Soucy’s bill proposes the Granite State’s minimum wage jump to $10 per hour on Jan. 1.

“There’s no town in New Hampshire where somebody can live on the minimum wage and we have, I believe, thousands of people in New Hampshire who are working at minimum wage,” Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, added of the legislation.

We do not disagree with the points Soucy and Rosenwald make. However, we don’t believe they tell the whole story. We don’t believe there many people in New Hampshire trying to support themselves with only the income they earn from a minimum wage job.

On the other hand, a slight increase in the wage does seem in order. After all, Nashua’s Pheasant Lane Mall is very close to Massachusetts, a state that requires a minimum wage of $12 per hour. While the New Hampshire businesses could, in theory, benefit because it can pay lower wages, it may also struggle to find employees willing to work for less.

We hope legislators and Gov. Chris Sununu reach a reasonable agreement on both an amount for a wage hike, as well as a time frame for such. We do not believe businesses should be forced to go from paying $7.25 per hour on Dec. 31, to paying $10 per hour the very next day.