Your story “Minimum wage hike has limits, study says” (Aug. 30) mistakenly suggested that the proposed ballot initiative to raise Maine’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would be too high for the state.

First, the story got it wrong that median wages in Maine are a lot (one-third) lower than they are nationally. In reality, they’re just a little (80 cents) lower.

Second, the story was right that 60 percent of the median wage is sometimes looked to as a benchmark for a strong minimum wage – but missed that those comparisons are, as the Economic Policy Institute has explained, based on median full-time, full-year workers’ wages – not the median for all workers cited in the story.

In Maine, the median full-time workers’ wage was $18.75 in 2013 – and will be at least $21.54 by 2020, based on current inflation projections.

As a result, a $12 minimum wage in 2020 will translate to just 56 percent of the state’s median wage – a very moderate proposal that would raise Maine’s minimum wage only slightly higher, as a portion of the median wage, than it was in the late 1960s, when the nation enjoyed strong growth and low unemployment.

It is virtually identical to the federal $12 minimum wage proposal backed by President Obama and most Democrats in Congress.

There is little question that the state’s employers could readily transition to that level, as evidenced by significant support for the proposal among Maine small businesses and national polling showing that 60 percent of small-business owners back a $12 minimum wage.

A $12 minimum wage would help the state’s economy and provide a badly needed boost to more than 120,000 Mainers who are working hard and falling behind.

Paul Sonn

general counsel, National Employment Law Project

New York