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Dems Want Wage Hike, Biz Warns of Resulting Job Losses

February 17, 2017 By Staff
Dems Want Wage Hike, Biz Warns of Resulting Job Losses

Democrats in Connecticut are renewing their push for a $15 minimum wage (and beyond), but the business community warns that may lead to job losses.

On Thursday, Senate President Martin Looney (D) held a press conference celebrating Democrats’ proposal to hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, with future wages raised based on inflation.

Democrats seemed to fall in line, with House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz – a union employee – saying he’s “proud that Connecticut is a national leader on this issue.” A spokesman for Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) “highlighted the governor’s support for previously adopted labor measures and endorsed the concept of a minimum-wage increase.”

The wage hike would certainly impact a lot of Connecticut workers: 336,000 who earn less than $15 an hour, to be more precise. That’s one in every five workers in Connecticut.

The hike would greatly impact businesses, too, though. A 2016 study from the Heritage Foundation estimated Connecticut would lose 40,000 jobs by 2021, or around 10,000 jobs per year for the next four years. To put that in perspective, Connecticut’s nonfarm employment went down by just 2,000 jobs in 2016.

Connecticut’s leading business association, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), spoke out against a minimum wage hike and suggested “increasing the cost of doing business is not going to help” the state or its job growth.

Connecticut Democrats also put a paid leave proposal on the table. Looney likes New York’s model which offers “eight weeks of leave at 50 percent of the weekly pay rate.” This would have to be paid either by businesses – through a mandate or a tax – or by individual taxpayers.