SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

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
Business

AP Video
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 GM Crash Compensation Could Top $1 Billion GM Won't Limit Crash Compensation Funds Justices Rule for Broadcasters in Aereo Fight
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Comments Trcker