AP NEWS

William Baker Minimum wagehike mattersin many lives

May 16, 2019

To the editor,

Thank you for your editorial (“Connecticut’s tug-of-war over poverty”) on Friday, May 10, and thank you to the Connecticut House of Representatives for staging an all-nighter on behalf of our neighbors earning the minimum wage. A minimum of $15 an hour would be a big help to many of our fellow citizens. Of course it is still an annual salary of just $31,200 — think of that as $600 per week with which to buy food and to pay rent, utility bills and, oh yes, taxes.

As you pointed out, Connecticut is not the only state where you have to wonder how people survive on the minimum wage. In fact, there is nowhere in the United States where a person earning the federal minimum wage can afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment. In Connecticut there are only 36 affordable housing units for every 100 qualifying families. And here, though Stamford is recognized for its housing policies, we find the St. John’s Towers being demolished to be replaced by luxury apartments.

The Minority Leader of the House repeated the often-heard argument that, if wages are increased, businesses will hire fewer workers. However, the Economic Policy Institute says that, in states that have already gone to a minimum $15 per hour, business organizations representing tens of thousands of small businesses have endorsed a $15 minimum wage. The increase stimulates consumer spending, helps businesses’ bottom lines, and grows the economy by improving worker productivity, reducing employee turnover and absenteeism, and generating increased consumer demand.

The increase would be especially important to workers of color, with 38 percent of African American and 33 percent of Latino workers receiving raises.

The House showed a level of courage and determination that has been rare in recent days. I urge everyone to call their state senators and support this long-overdue increase.

Stamford resident William Baker is a volunteer advocate for Results, a passionate, dedicated group of everyday people advocating policies that will bring an end to poverty.