The Coastal Packet: Bangor minimum wage law would screw teenagers

Wednesday, July 22

Bangor minimum wage law would screw teenagers

Mike Tipping, Bangor Daily News - The minimum wage increase proposal before the City Council in Bangor is rather anemic. Not only does it only increase the hourly wage a relatively small amount (three staged increases of 75 cents each), it also leaves out several important groups, including tipped workers and those under the age of 18...

The idea of minimum wage workers often being teenagers is one that opponents of fair wages like to promote, but it simply isn’t true. According to the Economic Policy Institute, of the 130,000 Mainers making poverty wages who would directly benefit from a gradual increase to a minimum wage of $12 an hour (as the referendum being advanced by Mainers for Fair Wages proposes), only 18,000 are under the age of 20 – just 11.6% of the total.

There are more working mothers (19,000) and seniors (22,000) than there are teenagers making at or just above the minimum wage in Maine.

The idea of carving out a new sub-minimum wage for young people is disturbing. It’s an arbitrary and capricious distinction. These Mainers are doing the same jobs as their older peers, many are supporting their families or supporting themselves and they’re all trying to prepare for their lives, whether that means going to college, starting a business or starting a family.

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