It was gratifying to see the majority of Maine voters say “yes” to raising the minimum wage. It will be a huge help to people who work hard for very low wages.

Low-wage workers will be better able to patronize small businesses, or further their education, or deal with emergencies. Teachers say it will be the most important way to lift Maine children out of poverty and help stabilize their families.

Elders who need to work will have a better quality of life. Skilled, first-line child-care and elder-care workers will be able to stay in those important jobs in the health care system.

There won’t be an economic penalty when someone moves from public assistance to a minimum wage job. And tipped workers will gradually gain a more predictable income across seasons, changes in shifts, and weather conditions.

Women servers, especially, will not have to abide patrons who are disrespectful for fear of a drop in earnings.

As in seven other states that have long included tipped workers in the full minimum wage, the adjustment will be slow and manageable through the next seven years. Patrons will continue to tip and restaurants will thrive. The economy will grow.

Now, the public needs to hold the state Legislature accountable for fulfilling the will of the people of Maine, and stop any efforts to repeal this important benefit to the whole community.

That will be good for everyone.

Peg Hoffman and Jim Cogan, Lewiston

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