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S.23 Increase the Minimum Wage

S.23 proposes to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2024. This will make a big difference in many Vermonters’ lives.

Can businesses really afford to raise wages?

Powerful corporations are reaping the profits as they keep a cap on wages and eliminate benefits, turning full-time jobs into part-time jobs. They bully working people, claiming that jobs disappear when wages go up. But numerous studies – based on real minimum wage increases – show that increases in the minimum wage will not cause employers to eliminate jobs. Instead, it gives employees more money to spend, which increases consumer demand, and that will create more jobs.

Raising the minimum wage will actually help businesses, by decreasing employee turnover as employees maintain healthier and happier lives. Small businesses will save money associated with training and recruiting new employees. In 2014, the state with one of the nation’s highest minimum wages—Washington State—also topped most of the lists for small business job growth.

A higher minimum wage will attract new residents to Vermont, creating new consumer markets and giving a boost to the economy.

Won’t low income people lose their benefits if we raise their wages?

This is why we’re also working to expand Vermont’s Earned Income Tax Credit and to smooth the “benefits trough,” so that families will really be able to enjoy the benefits of raising the minimum wage.

How much does it really cost to live in Vermont?

The Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator shows that a single, childless adult, working full-time year-round, would have to earn $19.51/hour in Orleans County to achieve a modest standard of living. Orleans County is the most “affordable” county in Vermont. At the other end, similar Grand Isle County workers would need to earn $23.14/hour. The Family Budget Calculator includes expenses such as transportation, prevailing housing costs, and self-insured health care costs that are not included in the Vermont livable wage basic needs budget.

Who does low-wage work?

• Vermont’s poverty rate is on the rise and is currently at 11.3%.

• There are more than 26,800 children in Vermont with at least one adult in their household – a parent, grandparent, caretaker, or adult sibling – who would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2024.

• Of Vermonters earning less than $15/hour, 58% are women.

• Nearly half of all Vermonters in low-wage jobs have some level of college education, and more than 86% have a high school diploma.

• 62% of those who would be affected by a $15 minimum wage are older than 25.

• Vermonters earning low wages work in food related service, retail and health/personal care.

• Gradually increasing the minimum wage would boost incomes for almost 100,000 Vermonters, boosting our economy and building stronger communities.

Let’s stand for Vermonters and support a raise in the minimum wage!