Contrary to your paper’s March 6 editorial blasting Maine’s business community and their support for a competing minimum wage measure on the ballot this November, we absolutely must make room for such a measure as proposed by a coalition of Maine business groups.

Also contrary to what your paper indicated in last Sunday’s editorial, Maine businesses are largely supportive of a reasonable minimum wage increase for entry-level workers in our state. Maine businesses agree it is time for an increase in the minimum wage, but it must be one that is sustainable and that Maine’s small businesses can afford. Maine businesses cannot afford the Maine People’s Alliance proposal for many reasons, but in an effort to find common ground, have proposed a reasonable alternative in a competing measure they are committed to passing in November.

The competing measure raises the minimum wage incrementally to $10 an hour by the year 2020. The MPA proposal raises the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. This would be detrimental to our small businesses. Not only would many businesses be forced to close, others would have to lay off workers and increase costs. It’s bad for jobs, and it’s bad for consumers.

Additionally, the MPA proposal eliminates the tip credit, which would also be detrimental to small businesses. Raising the wage of tipped workers to be equal to the state minimum wage would result in more layoffs, if not closures, and again, businesses would be forced to increase the cost to consumers to make up for their losses.

Maine’s business community is committed to working to raise the minimum wage to a level that not only helps entry-level workers, but is reasonable and sustainable for our state’s small businesses. That is why the competing measure proposed by Maine businesses is a must.