Letter to the editor: Raising the minimum wage won’t drive away jobs

It is clear that 30 years of “trickle down” public policies have worked to make high end wages higher and low end wages MUCH lower due to inflation.
The minimum wage today pays for less than it did 30 years ago. Approximately 87,000 Vermonters suffer this wage stagnation.
We have long understood the concept of livable wage. Here in Vermont that is $15.76 in rural areas and $17.64 in urban areas.
The average of a minimum wage earner is 38 years old, half are over 40, 20 percent are parents, 60 percent are women and almost all work full time and are the primary bread winner. (Joint Fiscal Office data). These people BADLY need to have a livable wage. They are largely not, as some claim, teenagers in their first job. They are hardworking struggling Vermonters, our neighbors!
Raising Vermont’s minimum wage will not drive jobs out of Vermont. For the last couple of years both New York and Massachusetts have had higher minimum wages than Vermont. I can find no one who can quantify how that has brought jobs into Vermont.
Yes, increasing the minimum wage to $15 will increase cost of products businesses provide. According to a Purdue University study the price of a Big Mac would go from $3.99 to $4.17. I think we Vermonters can live with this price.
Opponents, like the Vermont Chamber of Commerce claim raising the minimum wage will be disastrous to business. It seems that these businesses must rely on such humiliating low wages to survive. They think it proper that their employees suffer poverty, rely on charities for food and clothing and local and state governments for welfare benefits to live. They embrace the concept that the Vermont taxpayer should be subsidizing their impoverished workers so the businesses can make more money. I find this offensive.
Vermont was founded by people who were proud to work hard for their living. Now we have almost 90,000 Vermonters who are also working hard struggling to make their living. With our low minimum wage, we deprive them of the pride of being independent, self-supporting and the opportunity to shed the various forms of welfare. This wrong, we need to correct this injustice.
By raising the minimum wage the number of Vermonters relying on safety net programs will be reduced, reducing cost for all Vermont Tax payers.
Maybe the increase in the minimum wage will help encourage younger workers to stay in Vermont?
Who is Scott helping with his veto of the minimum wage? He is not helping the nearly 90,000 hard-working Vermonters who do not make a livable wage.
He is not helping the average Vermont taxpayer who pays taxes to pay state welfare, food subsidies, medical care, etc.
The only one I see Scott is helping is businesses who PROFIT from low wages, Walmart, McDonalds, convenience stores, hotel maintenance people, etc. I’m sure these businesses are big republican donors.
Bob Zeliff

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