Another Committee Aims for $15 Minimum Wage

03.13.2015
Issues & Policies

Another legislative committee is considering a proposal that could force many Connecticut job creators to raise their minimum wage to $15 per hour.
SB 1044 in the Human Services Committee joins a Labor Committee proposal (HB 6791) in pushing the minimum wage to $15 per hour for many small and large Connecticut businesses through a punitive tax of $1 per hour for any of their employees earning less than that amount.
SB 1044 is aimed at businesses with 500 employees, or franchisors whose local franchisees collectively have 500 employees.
Revenue raised by the new tax supposedly would fund an array of state social services programs. That’s important–but important enough to punish businesses based on a mistaken belief that every employee receiving less than $15 is on state services?
That, after all, is the reason for the bills. Both SB 1044 and HB 6791 are based on the belief that every employee working for big box retailers or franchise restaurants is a burden on the tax rolls because they’re also recipients of costly state services.
This is misguided because, for one, many of the employees targeted by the bills simply aren’t receiving any state services. Instead, many are actually retirees who have taken part-time jobs; teens or students living at home with parents; or individuals working a second job to supplement a more substantial income.
Why should their employers be indiscriminately fined for these employees?
Second, the bills impact a lot more than big box retailers and franchise restaurants, because they apply to any business, retail or not, with 250 or more employees (under HB 6791), and 500 or more employees (under SB 1044).
Any gym, learning center, convenience store, grocery store, or any other of the multitude of businesses that use franchise agreements will be impacted.
How many internship opportunities and entry-level jobs with excellent advancement opportunities would be eliminated by these measures?
Finally, the bills simply apply to anyone making less than $15 in “wages,” not taking into account any other non-wage employee benefits.
So businesses that are already model employers and provide good wages and generous non-wage benefits will also be punished by the bills.
No other state considers proposals like SB 1044 and HB 6791. These bills send the wrong message to the business community by showing that Connecticut is the type of state that punitively taxes businesses based solely on misguided beliefs.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede at 860.244.1931 | eric.gjede@cbia.com | @egjede

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