The following is an abridged version of a discussion on Facebook at www.facebook.com/edpagecourant.
Ed Page: Connecticut House Democrats want to raise the state's minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $9 this year. What do you think?
Wayne C. Kilburn: Sure ... why stop at $9 then $9.75. Go right up to $15. If $9 is good, $15 should be great! After all, isn't a living wage the goal?
Dan Valerio: I think it depends on the job or how much experience the worker has. I have workers who make $9 an hour because that's what the job is worth. There are also people here who make $25 per hour. But that's for a highly skilled position. For a full-time employee who makes $9 per hour, the total cost comes out to a lot more. You add in the benefits, the compensation insurance you have to pay in case the individual gets hurt on the job. Now you're paying around $15 per hour for a job that's only worth $9.
Genevieve Salvatore: I think this would be better suited for consideration ... when we have recovered from the recession.
Mark Abraham: In 1970, it was the equivalent of $10.50 per hour. Since 1980, the typical family net worth has declined from $21K to $20K while the typical net worth of a member of Congress has increased from $300K to $800K.
Jon Searles: This increase will raise the baseline employee costs for low-level employees by 10%. If you have ever wondered why grocery stores no longer have bag boys to carry your groceries to the cars or why dirty restrooms and retail/food facilities are becoming ever more prevalent, then wonder no more.
Paul Finney: For God's sake, the $8.25 now is $3.25 of forced charity.
Louis Guida: Maybe if we lowered the minimum wage to $2/hour we could get back all of those good jobs that we used to have that went to China. Or maybe if we sent our children back to work in the mills then we could get back some of those jobs that are now done in Cambodia or Bangladesh for $2/day. How low do we have to go to be "competitive" with slave labor and indentured servants?
For the record, the cities and states in the country that have higher minimum wages, higher union density, living wage ordinances, etc. have lower unemployment, higher average incomes and were far less affected by the economic collapse than the low-wage, low-regulation right-to-work paradises like South Carolina, which have some of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the country.
Anthony Martino: Well, look at this way. For every 12 employees making the minimum wage within a company means that the employer cannot hire another person at $8.25. Instead, they will have to disperse the $8.25/hour to the other 12 employess (11 x $.75). Doesn't sound to me like we are helping our fellow citizens gets employed, but rather making existing minimum wage workers more comfortable doing the same job for more pay. I would argue that the minimum wage should be uncomfortable enough to cause someone to want to improve themselves to make a better wage. ... I remember making $4.25/hour as a teen and realizing how I had to make something happen otherwise I would be stuck working in a burger joint the rest of my life.
David Campbell: It should be $10 or $11 an hour.
Jen Ezzell: Stupid, plain and simple. We have legislators who are so out of touch with what it takes to run a business ... but they sure do know how to run businesses out of CT.
Scott Malin: When you have labor in demand you don't need a minimum wage, the market will set a minimum. When you have down economic times, raising the rate will just price jobs out of existence. ... Nobody wants to see people underpaid, but in all the years the minimum wage was out there, did it ever make a difference? It raises the cost of living and those people living off the minimum no longer have enough, and then another increase is suggested to complete the circle of pandering. Oh, and if you are making more than the minimum, it is unlikely you will get a bump so you just get the higher costs.
Lj Grillo: I support raising the minimum wage. A dishwasher in a resturant works 4 p.m. to 12 p.m. — in an eight-hour shift he earns $ 72; after taxes he keeps $ 45. Who could make an argument that is too much money? Get a grip. I never paid one of my employees less than $15 per hour just for the mere fact that you can't wipe your --- with $9 per hour.
Michael Grillo: Good Idea, Mr. Speaker, we are with you — go for it! Let's try and treat everyone with dignity and respect and a wage that keeps them from living in a cardboard box. People always forget a society will be judged by how it takes care of the those the have the least. Those that are against this, shame on you! You will meet your maker one day, give that a little bit of thought!
Paul Monaco: I have a huge problem with tying it to an Index. It's guaranteed to go out of control ... Joe pizza delivery guy gets a raise ... pizza prices go up so his boss can make payroll ... cost of living index rises ... Joe gets another raise ... lather rinse repeat.
Lorraine Adams Power: If we relied on the free market to provide decent wages we'd be back in the 19th century with debtors' prisons and poorhouses, no child labor laws, and on and on with sweatshops,etc. The free market does nothing for the poor, except exploit it!Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun