A Higher Minimum Wage Would Benefit Thousands of New Hampshire Children

March 12, 2014

NH Kids Count Guest Blog: Contributed by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute 

New Hampshire is frequently touted as a top place to live, work, and raise a family.  In many ways, that’s true, but, for someone earning the minimum wage, it is a real struggle just to get by.  If you work full time and are paid the minimum wage, currently $7.25, you earn less than $300 per week.  That’s barely enough for the rent, let alone utility bills or groceries.

Raising the minimum wage is one way New Hampshire can start to build an economy that works for everyone.

If New Hampshire’s minimum wage were increased to $9.00 per hour, it would improve economic security for nearly 76,000 workers across the Granite State.  The vast majority of those workers – 72   percent – are adults aged 20 or older.  Most – 59 percent – are women and most work at least half-time.

Roughly 21,000 children in the state have a mother or father who would experience a pay raise from a higher minimum wage.

A bill now before the legislature, HB 1403, seeks to increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. The bill would increase the minimum wage to $8.25 in 2015 and to $9.00 in 2016, then tie the wage to the Consumer Price Index to provide cost of living adjustments in the future. On March 12, 2014 the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved HB 1403 by a vote of 173 to 118. The bill now moves forward to the Senate.  

Of course, workers and families are not the only ones who would benefit from a higher minimum wage. Businesses could see real benefits too.

On average, those who would be affected by a $9.00 minimum wage would see their pay go up by $870 per year. Since someone earning the minimum wage, out of necessity, spends every dollar he or she earns, that boost in pay will, in turn, boost the bottom lines of stores, shops, and businesses in the communities where they live. Just as that $870 will mean more food on the table, gas in the car, or heat in the apartment, it will also mean more money in the cash registers of supermarkets and other businesses.  All told, a $9.00 minimum wage would mean $64 million in additional wages being paid out into the New Hampshire economy over the next two years.

In short, a strong minimum wage will help New Hampshire’s working families, businesses, and economy.

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