Recently, the Republican members of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee voted to support L.D. 1757, An Act to Protect Maine’s Economy by Slowing the Rate at Which the State’s Minimum Wage will Increase and Establish a Training and Youth Wage (Emergency). If passed, the bill would lower future scheduled increases in the state’s minimum wage from $1 to 50 cents, thereby capping the minimum wage at $11 instead of $12.

Apparently, Maine’s economy is in such danger from the projected minimum-wage increase approved by the voters that this proposed legislation must be passed on an emergency basis in the next few weeks.

It should be noted that L.D. 1757 is in direct contrast to the mandate of the citizen referendum process in 2016, which raised the minimum from $7.50 to its current $10 per hour. There is no concrete evidence that Maine’s economy is slowing down because of the raising of the minimum wage. In fact, the Maine economy is stronger now than it was when the minimum wage was $7.50.

The Republicans are hoping that they can rush L.D. 1757 through the Legislature before anyone can notice. Be sure to contact your elected officials in the next few days and let them know how you feel about this proposed legislation, because the Republicans will attempt to thwart the will of the people and enact this legislation without warning if given the opportunity in order to “save” the Maine economy from decline.

Val Philbrick