NH Senate kills minimum wage increase; Republicans stick together
CONCORD - The fight to restore New Hampshire's minimum wage and raise it ended in the state Senate today.
Gov. Maggie Hassan made an increase a priority in her inaugural address but all 14 Republicans went in lock step against a Senate Democratic bill to raise the floor wage to $10 an hour by January 2018.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said the last time the federal minimum went up, 900,000 people were lifted out of poverty but 500,000 lost their jobs.
"The sad reality is while it has the best of intentions, it leads to pain in the job market,'' Bradley said.
Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, insisted that businesses such as Wal-Mart and TJ Maxx are proving that raising wages not only helps lower-income workers but can improve a firm's profile.
"It's a good thing to do, good for the workers and frankly good for business as well,'' Soucy said.
Republicans in 2011 repealed the state's own minimum wage and advocates for change have been playing catch up ever since.
All Democrats voted for the increase.
There are two other bills to raise the minimum wage pending before the Republican-led House of Representatives but the Senate vote dashes any hopes of progress on this issue in 2015.