If You Didn’t See This Coming…
…you’re not paying attention.
CONCORD – The minimum wage for New Hampshire workers, bounced around like a political football depending on which party is in power, is back in play.
With Democrats in control of the state House of Representatives, two bills to raise the minimum wage are scheduled for hearings next week.
Both bills have to reestablish a minimum wage for New Hampshire, since the state Legislature under Republican leadership in 2011 overrode a veto by Gov. John Lynch to eliminate it. That means the federal minimum wage, set at $7.25 per hour, prevails in the Granite State.
HB 127, co-sponsored by Reps. Peter Sullivan, D-Manchester, and Timothy Horrigan, D-Durham, would restore the state minimum wage and set the rate at $8. The bill also calls for the rate to be adjusted every two years based on inflation, subject to a vote of the Legislature.
HB 241, sponsored by Rep. Tim Robertson, D-Keene, would set the rate at $9.25 an hour as of Sept. 1. In both bills, tipped employees in the hospitality industry would have to be paid no less than 45 percent of the minimum wage, as is now the case.
Let’s play a round of “What If…?”.
You’re the CEO of the Granite State Acme Stuff Company. You have 350 employees performing a wide range of work tasks with varying levels of responsibility and compensation. As the chief executive of this successful small business (one that you built from the ground up with your own capital), you take home an annual salary of $500,000 a year, making you a member the “rich” upper-class, as defined by the “progressive” left.
Let’s take a look at your labor costs.
Your “floor sweepers” (80 of them) earn minimum wage ($7.25/hour), as they have the fewest responsibilities and the jobs requiring the least amount of skills and training.
Your “warehouse workers” (120 of them) earn $8.75/hour, a little more than the floor sweepers as their job requires a higher set of skills and comes with more responsibilities (inventory, shipping and receiving, records keeping, etc.)
Your “sales” employees (25 of them) earns a wage of $9.00/hour plus commission.
Your “machine operators” (75 of them) have a job that requires advanced skills and training, and which pays them $10.50/hour.
Overseeing these employees and taking care of the day-to-day operations of the company are assistant managers, department managers, supervisors, accountants, and safety personnel. These positions earn, on average, an hourly wage of $16/hour.
One day, Tim Robertson, an elected member of your benevolent, Democrat-controlled state government knocks on your door and informs you that your floor sweepers must now be paid $9.25/hour for their services (a 27.6 percent pay raise, mandated by law).
You break the news to your floor sweepers, who are elated over their newly-inflated paychecks. Your warehouse workers, however, aren’t too keen on the fact that they are now earning less than their colleagues who do nothing more than push a broom around all day, and demand a commensurate 27.6 percent boost to their hourly wage as well.
So, now you’ve got floor sweepers making $9.25/hour and warehouse workers making $11.15/hour.
What do you think your sales staff and your machine operators are going to react to seeing these lower level employees now out-earning them?
So, you bump up your sales staff and machine operators’ wages to $11.50 and $13.40 respectively.
Not even addressing your managerial and office staff (no pay raises at all for them), what was once a $5.5 million payroll has now ballooned into an annual payroll of more than $6.5 million. But, that’s OK. After all, you’re one of those rich people the left is fond of demonizing and can afford to absorb the cost increase. In fact, it’s your moral obligation to do so, so that you can finally pay your “fair share” and stop exploiting the working class.
Oh, and did I mention that your healthcare costs are going up, as are your insurance, energy, taxes and real estate costs.
But, hey, you’ll be fine. After all, you’re rich. All you have to do is reduce your annual salary to zero, lay off a couple dozen employees, cut the hours of the ones you keep and jack up your prices, making you less competitive in the marketplace.
It’s only “fair”.