Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Minimum wage hike welcomed

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Vermont legislature successfully overrode Governor Scott’s veto of S.23, giving hardworking Vermonters the raise they desperately need and deserve.
This bill is significant for a few reasons. It will have its greatest impact on the most marginalized Vermonters. According to the National Employment Law Project, women and people of color are overrepresented among those making minimum wage. Not only that, six out of the ten largest occupations with median wages at or around minimum also rank among the occupations projected to add the most jobs in coming years.
Vermonters deserve to experience a safe and decent standard of living. This minimum wage increase, while not a cure-all, is an important step toward a Vermont that works for everyone. Even with this increase Vermont’s minimum wage is still below a truly livable wage, but improved entry-level wages can help encourage young people to remain in Vermont, a key bi-partisan goal.
Raising the minimum wage in a gradual and thoughtful manner can stimulate our economy, since most of the additional wage dollars will be spent locally. It may enable some low income people to move off social benefit programs supported by other taxpayers. Most importantly, it will contribute to the financial independence and dignity of working people at the low-wage end of our economy.
All Vermonters owe a debt of gratitude to those legislators who supported this important legislation.
Spence Putnam
Weybridge

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