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NH House Democrats Reject $15/Hour Minimum Wage; Put Forth More Modest Plan

March 15, 2019

Democrats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives have rejected – for now – a $15 per hour state-wide minimum wage.

Despite the failure by House progressives to get what they wanted — a raise in the minimum wage from the present $7.25 to $15/hour by 2024 – the majority of House Democrats, along with two Republicans, still managed to pass a more modest proposal to increase the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2022. 

WMUR reports that the proposed pay increase, scheduled in steps, would go into effect in 2020, starting with $9.50/hour that year, $10.75/hour in 2021, and $12/hour in 2022. 

“The people that are doing what we, as a society, ask of them, by working hard and putting in a hard day’s labor, should be able to do the basics for their family,” said Rep. Kris Schultz, D-Concord, as she spoke in favor of the increase before the full House Thursday. “You should be able to afford food, rent, transportation and all of that.”

Rep. Jack Flanagan, R-Brookline, countered from the House dais that a minimum wage increase will harm rather than help both employees and employers.

“It’s going to cause employers to lay off staff. Some employers have very restrictive margins. They cannot afford to pay more in the wages they’re already paying,” Flanagan said. 

The NH Senate is now debating whether the increase is necessary and, if so, how large it should be. WMUR reports that if any increase is finally passed by both chambers of the legislature, NH Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, is likely to veto such legislation. Sununu has said he believes minimum wage policies are a federal and not a state issue.

 

 

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