Gov. John Lynch today urged the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee to help New Hampshire's working families and pass legislation increasing the minimum wage. The legislation, HB 514, raises New Hampshire's minimum wage in increments from the current $5.15 an hour rate to $7.25.
"Many of our families are working hard just to get by - to pay for food, gas, housing and childcare. There is often not enough for the basics, let alone the extras. It is time we do the right thing for our families and raise the minimum wage," Gov. Lynch said.
New Hampshire is the only state in the Northeast whose minimum wage rate is just $5.15 an hour. Two years ago, the New Hampshire House passed legislation increasing the wage. The state Senate killed the measure.
House Bill 514 would raise the minimum wage rate to $6.50 on Sept. 1, and then to $7.25 next year.
A recent University of New Hampshire study found the majority of people earning minimum wage in New Hampshire are over the age of 25, and a high percentage of those people are women.
"These are men and women trying to make ends meet. They're trying to pay for the basics on a wage rate set 10 years ago. Has the price of groceries, or rents been frozen for 10 years? Of course not," Gov. Lynch said.
Other studies by Princeton economists have shown an increase in the minimum wage has little to no effect on employment. Raising the minimum wage does not hurt low-wage earners through a reduction in jobs and actually leads to economic activity, the studies found.
"We should not wait for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. We should do what is right for our families and for our state and finally raise the minimum wage ourselves," Gov. Lynch said.