Some lawmakers are realizing that raising costs on Connecticut employers will cause more harm to the state’s economy, but others haven’t reached the same conclusion—as seen in two recent votes on minimum wage proposals.

Connecticut continues to grow jobs at a disappointing rate in what some are calling the state’s “new economic reality.”

Biz-Costs_020516That’s why the Connecticut legislature’s Labor Committee exercised good judgment last week in taking no action on HB 5370, the bill that would have increased the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2022.

But this week, the Human Services Committee barely approved a proposal (SB 391) to raise the minimum wage to $15 in certain businesses by taxing those employers.

Even so, many lawmakers on the legislature's Human Services Committee expressed reservations about the idea and said they would be unlikely to support it later in the process.

SB 391 assumes that anyone making less than $15 per hour—including teens and those of any age simply looking to earn extra money—is also receiving expensive state services.

So the bill forces a new wage tax on employers with 500 or more employees or franchisors whose franchisees collectively have 500 employees.

Under the bill, targeted employers would pay a tax (between 10 cents and $1) for every employee paid less than $15 an hour. (Connecticut’s minimum wage–one of the highest in the U.S.–is $9.15 an hour, increasing to $9.60 on Jan. 1, 2016, and $10.10 a year later.)

Supporters say the new tax revenue would go to benefit those employees—but the dollars actually would go elsewhere, to the state’s General Fund.

The bill doesn't apply to employees under a collective bargaining agreement, meaning that its likely aim is to make union labor cheaper in order to force larger companies to unionize.

CBIA encourages Connecticut state lawmakers to first do no harm to jobs here, and reject efforts to artificially increase wages.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede (860.244.1931) | @egjede