, Salem, MA


February 5, 2014

'Lower and slower'

Business leaders take stand against minimum wage bill

Local business leaders are speaking out against a proposed hike in the state minimum wage, calling for a smaller, more gradual increase than the one proposed in the Senate bill passed in November.

The North Shore Chamber of Commerce board voted in January to oppose the Senate bill. And on Monday, the Salem Chamber of Commerce hosted a program on the minimum wage debate featuring speakers from the retail and restaurant industries opposing the Senate bill.

“We say ‘lower and slower,’ whatever that means,” said Rinus Oosthoek, president of the Salem Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t want to kill job creation right now.”

The Senate bill, which still needs approval in the House, would hike the minimum wage from $8 to $11 by 2016, and then link future wage hikes to inflation. The bill also calls for a dramatic boost to the tip wage employers must pay waitstaff, increasing gradually from $2.63 an hour to $5.50.

“We are looking for a reasonable minimum wage increase,” said Beverly resident Jon Hurst, who is president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. He said the Massachusetts minimum wage should be in line with those of other states. New Hampshire, for instance, has a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which is the federal minimum. If the Bay State jumps to $11 an hour, it would put those doing business on the border at a disadvantage, he said.

A higher minimum wage can increase costs for all businesses, Hurst said, and hurt small downtown retailers, who face increasing competition from online retailers.

State Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, said she also favors a more modest minimum wage hike. She voted last fall in favor of the Senate bill, which was pushed by Senate President Therese Murray, she said, but also voted for amendments proposed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, “to slow the train down.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones All Aboard! LIRR Strike Averted Microsoft to Cut Up to 18,000 Jobs Time Warner Rejects Murdoch's Takeover Bid Yellen Says Economy Still Needs Fed Support Cleveland Expects Economic Boom From Lebron Justice Dept. Fines Citigroup $7 Billion Justice Dept. Fines Citigroup $7 Billion Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Cupcake Shop Crumbs Shuttering All Its Stores San Francisco Prepares for Soda Battle Dow Breaks Record 17,000
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'
Comments Trcker