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NH Senate kills minimum wage hike

State House Bureau

February 04. 2016 6:18PM

CONCORD — The Senate on Thursday, once again, voted down a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour.

The state uses the current federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Supporters of Senate Bill 412 said it is long past time for the state to increase the minimum wage, which is not enough to support an individual or a family.

The bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, said the increase to $12 would give 140,000 Granite Staters a raise, with 84 percent more than 20 years old and 60 percent women.

Public support is growing to increase the wage she said, and businesses recognize the need to raise wages to help their workers and to reduce turnover.

But bill opponents said raising the wage would mean lost jobs and more part-time jobs.

They said businesses know best what they can afford, and lawmakers ought to leave wage levels up the market.

“Employers are doing the best they can to compensate employees; however, artificially raising wages may be unaffordable for many small businesses, who would likely need to close their doors, allowing jobs to disappear as a result, “ said Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith.

Lawmakers have made great strides to boost the state’s economy in the last few years, said Sen. Jerry Little, R-Weare.

The House has several bills of its own that would raise the minimum wage, but has yet to vote on them.

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