The Democrat-controlled New Hampshire House passed HB731 on Wednesday. The bill incrementally increases the minimum allowable wage to $15 per hour over the next five years. New Hampshire currently has no minimum wage, so it defaults to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Democrats in the House and Senate passed a bill raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour last session, and Governor Sununu vetoed that bill.
The bill reads:
“Unless otherwise provided by statute, no person, firm, or corporation shall employ any employee at an hourly rate lower than that set forth in the federal minimum wage law, as amended, or at an hourly rate as follows, whichever is higher:
$8.50 per hour effective through December 31, 2020.
$10.60 per hour effective January 1, 2021.
$11.70 per hour effective January 1, 2022.
$12.80 per hour effective January 1, 2023.
$13.90 per hour effective January 1, 2024, and
$15 per hour effective January 1, 2025 and thereafter.”
New Hampshire GOP Chairman Stephen Stepanek released the following statement after the New Hampshire House passed HB731:
“An hourly minimum wage increase costs on employers and incentives large corporations to switch to self-service kiosks while small businesses suffer with increased labor costs. New Hampshire workers are empowered to negotiate higher pay with current market forces and Democrats simply do not understand the economics of their proposal. Every increase in the minimum wage hurts low-skilled workers and distorts the free market and Republicans are wise to oppose the establishment of a New Hampshire minimum wage.”
Stepanek is correct that such a law would hurt workers – the lowest skilled, poorest, most desperate workers, in particular. By making them more expensive than illegal/undocumented labor and automated technology, workers would price themselves out of a job if this bill passes. The best case scenario involves businesses simply increasing the prices that customers like you and me must pay in order to afford the increased payroll costs. Practically speaking, this bill is horrible and would hurt the thriving New Hampshire economy, which is currently the best in the US in terms of median wages and unemployment.
HB731 is also terrible ideologically. Any law that makes it a crime for two consenting adults to have a mutually agreeable transaction is an immoral, authoritarian, fascist law. If a person wants to work for an employer and agrees to the salary and the employer wants to hire the worker and agrees to pay that salary, why should politicians step in between them and call them criminals? If politicians ought to protect consenting adults from making decisions that the politicians do not support, this bill should be amended to include giving politicians control over other decisions, too. Like these: politicians should make it a crime for pretty women to sleep with jobless men, regardless of whether they consent. Politicians should make it illegal to business meetings before 7AM or after 7PM. They should force wives to cook and husbands to do the dishes.
We all must decide if we believe in consent and freedom or government control and authoritarian rule over our economy and our personal decisions. Practically speaking, the bill is unnecessary and can only harm our great economy. If you do not support increasing the minimum wage by over 100%, contact your Senator and Governor Sununu and ask them to strongly oppose this bill!
Governor Sununu has vetoed this bill.