Act for Livable Wage

retro-1291745_1920It’s been a long time since “minimum wage” was synonymous with a “livable wage,” but we have a chance to change that in Vermont.  The minimum wage bill is currently in the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee. It is expected to be voted out soon. It then goes to two key “money” committees. It’s fate there is uncertain.

Action Needed

Call members of the House Ways and Means Committee and House Appropriations Committee, urge them to support minimum wage increases. Contact information is included below.

Proposed Call Script:
My name is {insert} and I live at {address}, and I’m calling to ask you to support a minimum wage increase when the bill comes to your committee. The marketplace has served to increase high-end wages while allowing low-end wages to stagnate. This is unacceptable. Neighboring states like Mass. and New York have already raised their minimum wages and there is no evidence to suggest it has cost their economies any jobs. Please support Vermonters by increasing the minimum wage.

If you’re inclined to write letters to your local newspapers in support of raising the minimum wage, see talking-points and background information below.

House Ways and Means Committee

Rep. Janet Ancel, Chair | (802) 249-1660
Rep. Samuel Young, Vice Chair | (802) 321-0365
Rep. William Canfield, Ranking Member | (802) 265-4428
Rep. Fred Baser | (802) 453-4391
Rep. Cynthia Browning | (802) 375-9019
Rep. James Condon | (802) 655-5764
Rep. Johannah Donovan | (802) 863-4634
Rep. Gabrielle Lucke, Clerk | (802) 296-2690
Rep. James Masland | (802) 785-4146
Rep. George W. Till | (802) 899-2984
Rep. Kurt Wright | (802) 658-1410

House Appropriations Committee

Rep. Catherine Toll, Chair | (802) 684-3671
Rep. Peter J. Fagan, Vice Chair | (802) 342-1214
Rep. Kathleen C. Keenan, Ranking Member | (802) 524-5013
Rep. Maureen Dakin | (802) 777-8507
Rep. Martha Feltus | (802) 626-9516
Rep. Robert Helm | (802) 265-2145
Rep. Mary S. Hooper | (802) 223-2892
Rep. Bernard Juskiewicz | (802) 644-5606
Rep. Diane Lanpher | (802) 877-2230
Rep. Matthew Trieber, Clerk | (802) 376-1134
Rep. David Yacovone |(802) 888-5958

Background for Letter Writing

• A livable wage as defined by VT Joint Financial Office 2016 $15.76 for a single person in rural areas, $17.64 for a single person in urban areas, or $13.03 each for a couple living together with no children

• Most minimum wage earners are NOT kids, working part-time. They are
over 30 years old (65%), working full-time (72%), and more than 50% bring home more than half of the family income. Over 50% are women.

• An estimated 90,000 Vermonters will get a raise when the minimum wage is raised to $15 per hour. An increase to $15 per hour is estimated to generate $250 million in new income. This is money that will be spent locally…stimulating the local economy and generate associated tax income.

• The wage a household would need to earn in order to spend no more than 30% of its income on rent is $21.90 per hour (or $26.83 in Chittenden County).

• Purdue University says raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would raise the price of Big Mac from $3.99 to $4.17.

• Massachusetts and New York currently have a minimum wage that is higher than VT at $11. There is NO evidence that those states are losing jobs to VT. The thought that we would lose jobs to New Hampshire is fear mongering.

• A higher minimum wage will be good for the state budget–higher income means less need for state-funded services.

• It is argued that the market should decide wages. Really? Wages have stagnated over the last decade.

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