R. Reed: A positive approach to wages

The Maine Legislature is considering a bill to raise the minimum wage from the current $7.50 per hour to $9 over the course of the next two years.

While I support the concept of helping the working poor, that action does little to help. On average, 40 percent of the raise will be lost to sales tax, income payroll taxes and credits (more tax dollars to be spent in Augusta). And each item they purchase will cost more, each service they receive will be more expensive, simply because all those businesses would need to pay more in wages.

If raising the minimum wage were the end-all to prosperity, and Maine's minimum wage is already higher than in most states, why isn't the state prospering? And how would raising the minimum wage encourage business growth and new employers coming to Maine? (It wouldn’t.)

That being said, there may be room for compromise, if both parties would listen. Consider a graduated wage scale where new hires would receive the current minimum but with mandated step increases after six and 12 months. An employer would then have to decide which would be more cost effective —  paying slightly higher wages for experience or hiring new staff and paying more for unemployment taxes and new hire training costs.

That is a bold plan but it could put Maine on track in a positive manner. “As Maine goes, so goes the nation."

Robert Reed, Lewiston

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CRYSTAL WARD's picture

same old song...

The same old song again !!! give people a raise in the minimum wages and the sky will fall, the world will stop turning and companies will fail. Well your predictions are NOT held up by the facts over time.
Businesses have sung this song to keep wages low and profits high for far too long. The working people deserve something closer to a living wage.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You cannot make that claim

You cannot make that claim because you have no way to measure the alternates. You have no way to measure those jobs that where not created.

My advice to you about a living wage is to learn a skill. Don’t expect to make a living wage driving a cash register at your local retail store, especially when you have 50 people in line for your job.

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

create jobs??

Sorry but you have no way of measuring how many jobs were not created or if they were ever going to be created. We have passed out billions in Corporate welfare(loop holes in income taxes, TIF's to not pay taxes and corporate blackmail --requiring towns to give tax breaks or they will not come to your town, and low wages to keep up profits. I was alway taught that any job has diginity if you do your best and the wonderful people who work the registers at retail storeshave "skills" .

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Dignity and begin paid market

Dignity and begin paid market value are mutually exclusive. If the market value is not good enough, then do what you need to do to work another job.

Moreover, if a retailer cannot staff the shop because they don’t pay enough, they will pay more or go out of business. Until there is a shortage of labor, they have the upper hand.

Did anyone ever teach you those concepts?

Lastly, if corporate welfare is so distasteful, then vote for politicians to oppose it – again mutually exclusive to the minimum wage discussion. Corporate welfare needs government to be an enabler.

 's picture

Hiking the minimum wage does

Hiking the minimum wage does not help the working poor. It helps unions who have contracts which mandate pay scales as multiples of minimum wage. Business has one choice: to hike prices to cover increased costs, or to lay people off. Either way, those hurt the most are exactly those who are supposed to be helped by higher minimum wage.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Robert, Those who support a


Those who support a higher minimum don’t really care about the impact it has on business. They don’t care if increasing the minimum wage reduces overall jobs. They also don’t consider that many minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs like those you and I had in high school.

On a different topic, I read an article yesterday that listed states that have more school administrators than teachers. Guess what? Maine is on the list. Talk about a backwards state.

RONALD RIML's picture

You can 'Read'

We should award you a 'Kudo?'

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Maine is ranked as one of the

Maine is ranked as one of the most difficult states to do business in; it shows doesn’t it.

RONALD RIML's picture

Maine has the Internet - those businesses who use it Prosper

Obviously LePage's buddies are computer illiterate.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Then all business should do

Then all business should do well? Since I can run an internet business out of my house and avoid costly regulations, that should serve as an example that regulations strangle business.

Lastly, we do expect some business to do well even under the most strictest set of regulation, but that does not provide broad employment opportunities.

RONALD RIML's picture

You would provide NO employment opportunities

As you want all the $$$$ for yourself.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I have a small business, and

I have a small business, and I did let people go when minimum wage increased. I got more work out the remaining individuals and it overall cost me less. The increase in minimum wage was a trigger to reevaluate the employment opportunities I did offer, and I adjusted them.

An employee must make me 5-10 (or more) times in revenue than he or she is paid to keep the business profitable.

Now before you jump on your high horse of indignation, this is called business, which is perhaps a foreign substance to you.

 's picture

You say...

"They don’t care if increasing the minimum wage reduces overall jobs." I'd like to see something substantial to back that up.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Unfortunately you can not see

Unfortunately you can not see an unborn job. Well maybe you can. How is the job situation in Maine?

RONALD RIML's picture

Not enough applicants.

Boothbay area has to hire foreign college students to work the hospitality trade during the tourist season.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

So what you are saying is

So what you are saying is that the hospitality industry is meeting it's seasonal employment needs when students are out of school.

Now what would happen if the hospitality industry did not have the seasonal labor pool? Perhaps they would need to offer more in wages to get staff - capitialism is working.

 's picture

An that proves...

...the statement?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

If the Maine employment

If the Maine employment opporunities are so great, then why is Maine youth exiting? The exact reason I exited the state a number of years ago.

RONALD RIML's picture

You exited the State due to 'Outstanding Warrants'...

Who do you think you're shidtin'.....

MARK GRAVEL's picture

That is what I figured, just

That is what I figured, just name calling as usual. Watching your behavior here, now I know way there is so much hatred for cops in the public.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Where is your proof? Got

Where is your proof? Got none. Let me know if you have any mor...on [this topic].

RONALD RIML's picture

That's an observation. From that a conclusion may be drawn.

In order for a foreign national to get a U.S. Visa and Work Permit, U.S. Department of Labor Certification must be met:


"While there are several federal agencies involved with granting permission for foreign workers to work in the United States, employers generally must first obtain certification through DOL. Certification may be granted in cases where it can be demonstrated that there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers available and willing to perform the work at wages that meet or exceed the prevailing wage paid for that occupation in the area of intended employment."

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The fact that more than 11

The fact that more than 11 Million illegal immigrants work and live in this country is evidence to the contrary.

Yet another example where current law goes unenforced….yet we want more laws.

You can quote all the laws that you want and ignore reality. Ah, the smell of utopia in the morning.


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