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Monday, September 29, 2014

Are Democrats afraid to rally behind increase in minimum wage seems like a no brainer

This news release posted on the MaineBiz news feed today is surprising information, given how much negative feedback Republicans spew when they cringe at profit losses perceived by an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Maine poll finds broad support for wage hike

A new poll has found that 75% of 589 surveyed Mainers favor increasing the federal minimum wage, with broad support from Democrat, Republican and independent voters.

The poll, which also found that 60% of respondents strongly favored a minimum wage increase, was conducted by the University of New Hampshire's Survey Center and commissioned by the Portland Press Herald. It had a 4% margin of error.

While 93% of Democrats surveyed said they favored a minimum wage increase, 70% of independents and 59% of Republicans said they also favored it.

The city of Portland (Maine) is currently mulling a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour that could go into effect by 2015.

At the state level, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has previously vetoed a measure to increase the minimum wage, while his gubernatorial opponents have offered support. U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the Democratic candidate, seeks an increase at the state and federal levels while independent candidate Eliot Cutler only seeks an increase at the federal level.

Maine's state motto in Latin is Dirigo, meaning "I lead".  In another Maine slogan, there's a saying "As Maine goes, so goes the nation..."  

It seems more Democrats should be waving the Maine flag by subscribing to a national movement to increase the minimum wage.
This is a winning point of view because it doesn't appear as though there's much negative momentum about a federal minimum wage increase. In fact, it makes sense to increase the minimum wage, when it helps people out of poverty and, at the same time, helps to build pride and positive self esteem among the working poor.

States where the minimum wage was increased have seen a rise in their economic growth.  "...13 states that increased their minimum wages on have had stronger employment growth than the 37 states that didn’t. The study compared average employment during the first five months of 2014 with the last five months of 2013."

The average change in payrolls in the 13 states that increased their minimum wages was 0.99% vs. 0.68% in the other states. On January 1, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island boosted their pay floors as a result of legislation. The other nine states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington – automatically raised their minimums by smaller amounts based on inflation.

So, it seems like a "no brainer" for Democrats to build momentum on the Dirigo sentiment!

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