Big Congressional Vote on the Minimum Wage, Tomorrow

Date: July 17, 2019

“If ever there were a golden time not to do something, it’s right now”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Riley Johnson, Montana State Director, 406-439-1021, riley.johnson@nfib.org
or Tony Malandra, Regional Media Manager, 415-640-5156, anthony.malandra@nfib.org

HELENA, Mont., July 17, 2019—On the eve of tomorrow’s first major Congressional vote on the Raise the Wage Act (H.R. 582), the state director for Montana’s leading small-business association said U.S. House members would be wise to do what Montana lawmakers did earlier this year when faced with a similar proposal—quietly kill it.

“The economy right now is the hottest in at least a half-century,” said Riley Johnson, Montana state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends report, recognized nationally and internationally as the gold-standard measurement of Main Street business activity, has been recording 45-year highs in hiring, employee compensation, and expansion plans. If ever there were a golden time not to do something, it’s right now. Increasing the minimum wage only punishes the unskilled and teens and young adults looking for their first job. Minimum-wage earners account for just 2 percent of the American workforce. Most shamefully of all, for proponents of increasing the minimum wage to argue that it’s needed to alleviate poverty is to willfully turn a blind eye to overwhelming research that shows it does nothing of the sort.”

Johnson cited two findings to back up his opinions. One from the Employment Policies Institute, which said, “Multiple studies confirm that a majority of minimum wage employees–who are disproportionately young and less-educated–earn a raise within one to 12 months on the job,” and another from economist Joseph Sabia, a nationally regarded expert on the issue, who wrote, “Advocates of increasing the minimum wage to $15 have argued that such a hike will alleviate poverty and reduce public expenditures on means-tested public benefits. But a review of the literature on the effects of past minimum wage increases on poverty provides little support for these claims.”

In one regard the U.S. House’s measure would seem to pale in comparison to what was proposed this year in the Montana State Legislature with House Bill 345, which called for an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $12 an hour and then to $15 an hour next year. “It didn’t take much convincing for our state legislators to see the economic carnage HB 345 would have done,” said Johnson. “It was quickly, quietly tabled and never saw the light of day again. Congress should do the same with HR 582.”

In a letter to U.S. House members, NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan wrote, “The Raise the Wage Act will eliminate hundreds of thousands of small business jobs. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office confirms that this legislation will damage the small business economy, estimating that 1.3 million workers will become jobless and total real income will be reduced by $9 billion by 2025. NFIB’s own Research Center estimates this legislation will cost the economy 1.6 million jobs, reduce real GDP by over $980 billion, and reduce economic output by more than $2 trillion by 2029 …

“… Small businesses employ nearly half of the private-sector workforce. More than doubling the federal minimum wage over a short period will have real and significant consequences for small business owners and employees.”

For more news on Montana small business, visit www.nfib.com/MT and follow @NFIB_MT on Twitter.

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For more than 75 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit nfib.com.

National Federation of Independent Business/Montana
491 South Park Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
406-443-3797
www.nfib.com/montana
Twitter: @NFIB_MT

Related Content: News | Labor | Minimum Wage | Montana | News Release

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