Thursday, March 13, 2014

House Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Statement on Speaker DeLeo’s Proposal to Raise State’s Minimum Wage

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.50/hour:

“I welcome the release of Speaker DeLeo’s proposals for Massachusetts’ minimum wage rate and the reform of the unemployment insurance system. Economic competiveness must remain a cornerstone of the Commonwealth’s fiscal agenda. As such, I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle on striking a balance towards achieving a competitive living wage which will best serve the needs of the Commonwealth’s residents and small businesses alike.

By starting at a lower hourly wage than the State Senate’s proposal, the Speaker's proposal is a better place to start the conversation about crafting a plan that balances the needs of our state’s workforce and the concerns of the thousands of small businesses that are the backbone of Massachusetts’ economy. Furthermore, the lack of an indexing component to the state’s minimum wage rate will force lawmakers to consider a myriad of factors should the Legislature wish to consider adjusting the minimum wage rate in the future. In addition, the Speaker's plan relative to tipped employees appears to be more responsible than competing proposals.

Unfortunately, the Speaker’s proposal falls flat on a number of key provisions, which if not included in the House’s final proposal, will ultimately hurt the thousands of small businesses in our state. The lack of an aggressive approach to unemployment insurance reform is a missed opportunity for the Legislature to demonstrate our support for hardworking business owners. Additionally, the omission of an increase to the state’s earned income tax credit will hinder the overall goal of supporting Massachusetts’ working families.

As we begin this debate, we as a Legislature must put forth a concerted effort that both bolsters our state’s private sector workforce, particularly those on the lower rungs of the income ladder, while supporting those businesses that are pivotal to our state’s economic future.”