March 24, 2023

Maine Republicans just got exposed trying to lower the minimum wage behind public’s back

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Just when you thought Republicans couldn’t possibly sink any lower in their efforts to favor corporations and their wealthy owners over the average citizen, comes the news that Republican legislators in Maine are planning to roll back the increase in the minimum wage passed by a voter initiative less than two years ago, according to the Portland Press Herald.

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The current minimum wage in Maine is $10 per hour, and the ballot measure passed in 2016 would raise it gradually to finally reach $12 per hour by 2020. The Maine legislature has already modified the measure as originally passed by 55% of Maine voters to rescind the hike in the minimum wage for tipped employees like restaurant servers in a vote held last year.

They also defied voters’ will by eliminating a three percent surcharge tax on high wage-earners salaries to fund education and delaying implementation of a law legalizing recreational marijuana, both measures approved by Maine voters at the same time they indicated their desire to raise the minimum wage.

Despite rising income inequality that resulted from employers taking all of the benefit of increased worker productivity for themselves while keeping employee wages stagnant and despite the recent massive reduction in business taxes that Republicans in Congress just gave away to corporations, Republican Rep. Joel Stetkis and several business groups have pushed to reduce the minimum wage from the $10 per hour it just increased to at the first of the year back down to $9.50 per hour.

Stetkis’ bill would also eliminate scheduled cost-of-living increases to the minimum wage.

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If you needed any more proof that the Republican party, despite the faux-populist sheen that President Trump has tried to apply to the party’s policies, seeks nothing more than to serve the whims of their corporate benefactors in the business world, Maine Republicans now have you covered. Now Maine voters will have to decide how to treat those legislators who prefer to ignore their will in favor of their own narrow interests. Hopefully, they’ll show them hat they think of arrogant legislators who think they know better than their constituents.

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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