NFIB Encouraged with Lawmaker’s Actions to Stop Minimum Wage Mandate
NFIB, or the National Federation of Independent Business here in Richmond, applauds actions by the House of Delegates. Last night, lawmakers passed legislation that would freeze the state’s minimum wage at $11 an hour. They also passed along another bill that would stop a minimum wage increase set for 2023.
“Small business owners across the state are waking up this morning feeling a bit better about how lawmakers are handling economic issues this legislative session,” said Julia Hammond, NFIB State Director in Virginia. “Our members have made it clear: they are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to hire qualified workers, and dealing with supply chain issues. The last thing they need right now is another increase to their bottom line. Earlier this year, NIFB launched our Small Business Recovery Plan. They’ve made it clear that they need help from our elected leaders to pass sensible principles that will lead to Virginia’s economic recovery. The House’s actions last night are hopefully the first of many changes that will keep our small mom and pop stores open or business here in the Commonwealth.”
Last night’s actions by the House of Delegates would stop legislation passed last year that increases Virginia’s minimum wage over several years. Without any changes this year, the state’s minimum wage would increase to $12 an hour in 2023 and study increasing that all the way to $15 an hour during the 2024 legislative session. State law calls for $15 an hour minimum wage by 2026.
Time and time again, NFIB small business owners have made their opinion clear: they are overwhemingly against increasing the minimum wage, something they say would put a strain on their already struggling business.
A report from the NFIB Small Business Research Foundation found that there would be significant job losses across the nation at a $15 per hour minimum wage. The cost increases would force small business owners to cut back on expenses such as fewer hours for their employees – or even force that small business to shut its doors.
Marcie Smith is the owner of Happy Hounds Daycare in Harrisonburg, a business she started in 2013 and has about 15 employees. Marcie was encouraged to hear that the House of Delegates voted to stop the minimum wage increase, something she calls a threat to the growth of her small business. “There’s only so much money to go around. I have a price point here. I can’t just raise my prices to whatever makes everyone get paid $15 an hour because then I won’t have any business left at all. Lawmakers need to get out of our way and let us do what we have to do. Don’t tell us how we have to do everything. Just get out of our way and let us work.” You can watch Marcie’s video here.
“This is the worst time to add another mandate to our small business owners plates,” said Hammond. “It just doesn’t make sense. Entrepreneurs have already been hit with COVID-19 restrictions. Especially in rural Virginia, increasing the minimum wage just doesn’t make sense. The burden of paying higher wages just doesn’t match the cost of living there. Especially in retail and foodservice, and members like Marcie who provides doggy daycare, our small business owners can’t afford to pay $15 per hour to entry level workers. That’s why it’s so important that lawmakers listen. Last night was an important first step by the House of Delegates. Our small business owners encourage and look forward to similar actions by the Senate.”