A bill increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2022 has gained little traction since its passage out of the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee.
Advocates now intend to push for a smaller increase in the coming weeks in hopes of finding more support.
However, any increase to the minimum wage threatens Connecticut’s lackluster recovery from the economic recession.
We are trying to add jobs—not just add to the cost of sustaining and growing jobs.
HB 6208 increases the $10.10 minimum wage in equal amounts over the next five years until it reaches $15 by 2022.
The bill then calls for automatic annual increases based on changes in the consumer price index.
Connecticut already suffers from the slowest post-recession job recovery in New England, having recovered just 77% of the 119,100 jobs lost in the 2008-2010 economic downturn.
Case Study: San Francisco
San Francisco is a case study in understanding the impact of minimum wage hikes has on certain industries.
The city recently increased its minimum wage to $13 per hour, compared to California’s rate of $10.50. San Francisco’s rate will continue to rise to $14 later this year and $15 next year.
A recent study by the Harvard Business School on the impact of San Francisco’s minimum wage on the restaurant industry found that a number of restaurants have gone out of business.
It also found evidence that for each $1 increase in the minimum wage, there was a 4% to 10% percent increase in the likelihood a restaurant will close.
Less expensive restaurants—those often frequented by middle-class residents—were hardest hit.
And with each restaurant that closes, jobs are lost.
While the Harvard study focused on the restaurant industry, lawmakers should realize a minimum-wage increase hurts many industries.
Until Connecticut’s economy is on more solid footing, we should avoid making it more expensive to create and retain jobs.