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N.H. Senate Republicans defeat bill to raise minimum wage

New Hampshire’s minimum wage will remain at $7.25 an hour after all 13 Republican senators voted yesterday against a bill to raise it in increments.

“We know that this is a job killer. Let’s kill this bill and preserve jobs in New Hampshire,” Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican, told his colleagues.

New Hampshire relies on the federal minimum wage of $7.25, which is lower than the minimum wage in the rest of New England. This bill would have re-established a state minimum wage at $8.25 in 2015, then $9 in 2016. After that, the wage would increase yearly based on inflation. The Democratic-led House passed the bill earlier this session, and House Speaker Terie Norelli, a Portsmouth Democrat, strongly condemned the Senate’s vote. On a state and national level, Democrats are hoping to make raising the minimum wage a major election-year issue.

“The disrespect and lack of understanding projected by a number of senators during the discussion of the bill makes clear that they are dangerously out of touch with the hardworking people they represent,” Norelli said.

During yesterday’s debate, all 11 Democrats stood up to speak in favor of raising the minimum wage, while just four Republicans spoke. Democrats said raising the wage would give hardworking people a much-needed economic boost and, in turn, boost the state’s economy, while Republicans said raising the wage would eliminate entry-level jobs.

Someone working full time for minimum wage makes $15,800 a year, which has a purchasing power 30 percent lower than what a minimum wage worker made in the 1960s, said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, a Manchester Democrat. Raising the minimum wage is one step toward closing a growing gap in income inequality, he said. Working for minimum wage makes it nearly impossible for people to buy food, find affordable housing and support families, he and other Democrats said.

“It should be understood that this legislation isn’t meant to address the kind of inequalities between the ultra-wealthy and the poor, it’s meant to nudge the unlivable wage earners across an important threshold,” D’Allesandro said.

But Republican senators pointed to a recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that said while raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would increase wages for millions of people, it could cost 500,000 jobs. When the federal minimum wage went up to $7.25 in 2009, 330,000 teenage jobs were lost, Bradley said. Bradley said he believed the legislation was “well-intentioned,” but that it would do more harm than good. Fellow Republicans agreed.

“Increasing the minimum wage reduces demand for entry-level workers,” said Sen. Peter Bragdon, a Milford Republican. “It’s a hidden tax on employment, and it’s paid by people trying hard to get their first jobs.”

Democrats disputed the characterization that most people making minimum wage are teenagers or entry-level workers. Data shows that 50 percent of people earning the minimum wage are under the age of 25, but almost 40 percent are over the age of 30 and 14 percent are parents. They also pointed to a 2009 study from the Economic Policy Institute that showed the impact on teen employment from raising the minimum wage is negligible.

Sen. Peggy Gilmour, a Hollis Democrat, said that Washington state began tying its minimum wage to the cost of living in 1998 and has not seen the massive job losses that opponents of raising the minimum wage predict.

Although arguments driven by statistics ruled most of the debate, Sen. Molly Kelly, a Keene Democrat, said it was clear either side could choose data points that played to their position. Instead of looking at numbers, she urged her colleagues to think about the people who make minimum wage.

“If a job is not (for) a livable wage, then I would argue it is not a job,” she said.

In a statement after the vote, Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, said she was disappointed in the Senate’s vote.

“I will continue fighting to restore and improve our state minimum wage in order to boost our economy and strengthen the economic security of thousands of Granite Staters,” she said.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or or on Twitter @kronayne.)

Legacy Comments26

Arguments that the economy and businesses can’t afford an increase in the minimum wage ring hollow given the huge increases in CEO pay and company profits over the recent decades. These have both far outpaced wages and prices. A $15.00 minimum wage would add 5% to WalMart’s “low, low” everyday prices, but add over 40% to Walmart employees’ paychecks. That same increase at Mickey D’s would add 15% to the cost of a Big Mac, but increase a worker’s salary by over 40%. Those who labor in full-time jobs ought to be able to earn a living wage. Demand from a strong middle class powers the economy--not investment from the "investor" class.

Nope, you are repeating that Wal-mart propaganda which is on every left leaning website on the web. This is from Pew research: "Perhaps surprisingly, not very many people earn minimum wage, and they make up a smaller share of the workforce than they used to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year 1.566 million hourly workers earned the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour; nearly two million more earned less than that because they fell under one of several exemptions (tipped employees, full-time students, certain disabled workers and others), for a total of 3.55 million hourly workers at or below the federal minimum. That group represents 4.7% of the nation’s 75.3 million hourly-paid workers and 2.8% of all workers. In 1979, when the BLS began regularly studying minimum-wage workers, they represented 13.4% of hourly workers and 7.9% of all wage and salary workers." It will have no effect except to cause inflation, Bruce.

Increasing the price of anything will reduce the demand for it. Economics 101. That was the theory behind raising the cost of cigs, less folks would buy them and quit smoking. Too expensive to buy them. A great idea that worked. The unemployment rate is going down, not because of job creation, but because many have given up looking for work at all. In 2009 the minimum wage was raised, what happened then, 600,000 jobs lost for teens. Minimum wage stats are there for those who want to actually get informed and see who actually works for minimum wage. Raising the wage will cost jobs, and is nothing more than politics. If you want a career in a field where you can get married, support a family, and not have to struggle, then minimum wage jobs will not help. Minimum wage jobs get you in the door to learn how to manage in a work place. Those jobs hopefully will also convince you that spending your life working at McDees is not great, and just might inspire you to go to school nites or become an RN. For many, those are second jobs that spouses take to save for college for their kids, or pay for vacations working part time. Not careers. With our work force dwindling, business cutting back, and startups low, increasing the cost of hiring, will reduce jobs.

McDonalds is gearing up for this as well. They just ordered 7,000 customer order stations for many of their higher volume stores. That will only get worse with increased minimum wage.

Well I hate to say it but on the surface the minimum wage issue does appear to be a political issue and does indeed impact some jobs initially. Most making minimum wage are in the 16 - 24 group and those older are mostly women working part time. This doesn't mean that we can just dismiss this group. Until the economy tanked this was not a hot topic. Now you have many over qualified people in min wage jobs. Frankly I have never had a minimum wage job, but I also can't imagine living on one, least of all being able to afford a family. So I don't have a solution that would even fly. I will say tho, that education is the key.

Yesterday the news reported that Obamacare is stifling entrepreneurs and small businesses. That is where the lions share of jobs comes from. The economy is entering a second recession because of Obama policies and Obamacare, your premise is silly. If Obama was business friendly and stopped this economic experimentation and social justice agenda. "Education is the key" is hyperbole and rhetoric. We spend more and more on education and the results get worse.....what you really mean is "indoctrination" to a progressive mindset is key (in your opinion)

What "news" would that be? Links? Sources? Tinfoil?

Here are just a few, Bruce:,,, Reminder: "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor", "if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance", "the average family will save $2500 per year".....lies, lies, lies that if everyone knew when it was passed would have found Obamacare defeated.

If anything is likely to cause a repeat of the Great Bush Recession, it would be Republican attempts to impose austerity measures on the economy, not the ACA. The CBO forecast back in 2010 that at worst the ACA would mean job losses of one-half percent, and many of those would stop working from personal choice—they’d no longer have to work just to keep their health insurance. You’re grasping at straws with your claims. The ACA is proving itself to be more popular and successful in its first year than even its strongest advocates had thought.The ACA is arguably a small business’s best friend. Here's why: entrepreneurs may be more likely to start small business, since they’ll be less likely to worry about healthcare coverage. And the community rating requirement and small business exchanges should cushion a small company’s expenses when an employee develops a costly illness. And don’t forget the tax credits the ACA provides to help small businesses provide coverage. Many of the countries with national health insurance have HIGHER rates of self-employment than we do, and a proportionally larger small business sector thanks at least in part to the fact they have national health insurance.

The minimum wage is not designed to be a living wage, it is a stepping stone along a career path. If you are trying to build a family on a minimum wage job, you should not have kids.

New Republican Slogan; poor people should not have kids. Or maybe this is just your opinion, someone who has already compared them to rats.

Well Miss Tillie, I kinda thought that the Dems were all about poor people not having kids. Is that not the basis for affordable abortion?

Well let me refresh your memory with this history flashback. The time is 1970 and the President was Richard Nixon "Planned Parenthood has received federal funding since 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed into law the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act, amending the Public Health Service Act. Title X of that law provides funding for family planning services, including contraception and family planning information. The law enjoyed bipartisan support from liberals who saw contraception access as increasing families' control over their lives, and conservatives who saw it as a way to keep people off welfare."

Nope wrong again, Rabbit. Choice is about not being told by the government whether you can have kids or not. And of course that includes all women, not just poor women. Though of course, rich women could always have abortions when ever they wanted. Though this Fenwick person seems to feel poor people should not have kids at all, though how they can do that if not allowed contraception and no abortions I don't know. Unless she feels they should not have sex at all. Read up on the Democratic platform sometime. You might learn something.

You twisted what the writer said. The implication was, it is wise to have kids when you can afford it. Just like it is wise not to buy a Mercedes if you can only afford a KIA. She said nothing about the the govt dictating choices. With your line of thinking the govt should pay every time you make a bad choice. But that is how you think. Your entitled to the govt bailing you out for all bad choices. Everybody has a choice with the exception of a few who have health issues they cannot be blamed for. Because there are in fact health issues that you bring on yourself. Some do have bad luck. But making bad choices and expecting others to bail you out is wrong. That is if you have pride, ambition, or willing to work your way out of a bad situation. Not all situations are unsolvable and should be a wake up call to try and do better. But that is common sense and human nature, two things the left have no clue about. What they master in is deception, avoiding the issues and pretty much demonizing anybody that has a different opinion. They prey on folks who are uninformed with the promise they will provide everything for them.

Only a Republican would compare having a child to buying a Mercedes. Sounds like a topsy turny argument here. I believe everyone should be able to have a child even if they are poor. To some people it is the reason for living. And you the Republican are saying "no" not unless you can afford it, but yet your party puts road blocks in the way of people wanting to plan their families. You seem to have gone off on a tangent with Republican talking points but I do not believe I twisted her words. If I hadn't read her post comparing people signing up for Obamacare as rats I might have given her a pass. But she has made her point of view very clear. She even make Itsa look compassionate. How about if a working poor family decide just to buy a Chevy?

Happy Mother's Day Tillie if you are a Mom.

Why thank you, Rabbit. I don't know if you are a Mom or Pop but in the spirit of the Day, you too. and enjoy the sunshine.

Democratic Party policy is for abortion to be low-cost, legal--and rare. Republican policies that restrict access to family planning services have the effect of driving up the abortion rates by making unwanted or ill-timed pregnancies more likely. "Mandatory Motherhood" has a nice ring to their peculiar brand of wishful thinking. The Taliban might approve.

Nope wrong again. If Democrats have such low respect for life and want to rationalize abortion, that is find. I support a woman's right to choose, I just don't want to pay for it, hear about it, that is a woman's private life. I do think that it speaks to a persons character and morals to procreate and terminate the pregnancy because it was "ill-times". Intercourse is not a life and death situation, some planning makes sense. "Unwanted", then why did you not plan. Lack of planning on your part does not constitute a crisis on everyone elses part. Have abortions, I just don't want to pay for anyones moment of passion.

For 3 decades, this nation's economic system has been shedding good jobs at good wages, thanks to right-wing libertarian/neo-liberal policies of privatization, outsourcing, and globalization. A shrinking middle class and a growing underclass that can't make ends meet even when they work a full work week is a recipe for social unrest and national decline. A minimum wage can and should come much closer to being a "living wage" when an increasing number of our citizens can find no other work than McJobs. $15.00/hour would raise the cost of Walmart's prices by 5%, but boost a Walmart's associate's pay by over 40%.

Ahhh...the giant sucking sound of jobs leaving the US....and thanks to the schools in the US, many high school grads are not even qualified to do a mcjob...another recipe for decline.

That giant sucking sound is largely thanks to neo-liberal trade and economic policies that most Republicans have long endorsed. You are mis-informed about public schools, which by and large do a very good job. A far higher rate of poverty compared to the other OECD countries is the reason for our poorer outcomes. Test scores in the U.S. are higher than they've ever been; when student populations are adjusted to account for this difference, we place 6th in reading and 13th in math on the PISA. Lack of public sector investment in infrastructure and human capital has been the Republican recipe for serving the 1%, while the rest of the nation goes to hell in a hand basket.

Senator Bradgon, with all due respect how is it possible to characterize wages paid to an employee as a tax on businesses?

common sense VS progressive liberal socialist democrat narrative - Fact based common sense wins

You are correct fact based common sense wins. Maybe you could give it a try just once.

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