Saturday, November 4

Vote No on I-151

This Tuesday, we have some decisions to make. One of those decisions will be whether or not to increase the minimum wage.

As I have argued before, a $1 increase really doesn't make too much difference in today's economy. The market has taken care of things; there is no real job (except service jobs primarily held by high school kids) that pays the "legal" minimum. In the business I run, the starting wage is now over $8; that is really the case anywhere in our State.

The real danger of I-151 is mandated annual increases in the minimum wage, based on the growth of the federal Consumer Price Index. The CPI is based on the average federal inflation rate.

Now, prices in New York or Los Angeles do not necessarily have any relation to prices in Great Falls, MT. To tie our minimum wage laws to the national economy is a recipe for disaster for many Montana small businesses.

Like I said, a $1 increase will not have much impact on either Montana workers or the (mostly) small businesses that employ them. However, annual increases will. If such a thing happens, one of two things will have to happen; either prices will have to go up or businesses will have to reduce growth and potentially shutter their doors.

There is only so much room a business has to raise prices. When they reach that ceiling, the next decision will have to be to, say, hire five people for a new venture instead of ten. Worse, the decision might be to not open a new business instead of be forced to pay more for a job than the position is really worth.

Vote no on I-151. It takes control of our economy out of our hands.

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