November Ballot: Mainers Likely Face Minimum-Wage Decision
It is now up to Maine's secretary of state to certify a ballot petition that was supported by more than 75,000 signatures last week. The proposal would boost the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. (Mainers for Fair Wages).
January 18, 2016
AUGUSTA, Maine - When Maine voters head to the polls to elect a new president this fall, they also will likely be turning thumbs up or down on a proposal to raise the minimum wage.
Andrew Francis, deputy communications director with the Maine Peoples's Alliance, says all that remains is for the secretary of state to certify their ballot proposal. Francis says they delivered more than 75,000 verified signatures last week for a ballot proposal that would incrementally raise the state minimum wage.
"It would raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2017, and then a dollar each year after that until it reaches $12 in 2020," says Francis.
The Maine Small Business Coalition and the Maine AFL-CIO joined the Maine People's Alliance in delivering the petition's last week.
Francis says during their petition drive they got feedback from tens of thousands of local residents with many in a daily struggle to meet basic expenses.
"We talked to mothers who can't put food on their table for their family, while working multiple jobs," he says. "We feel that it's not right that someone can work hard all day and still not be able to make ends meet."
Francis says only one other ballot measure has been certified, but it is likely Mainers will face as many as a half dozen ballot initiative choices by the time they had to the polls in November.
"Legalizing marijuana, increasing taxes on the wealthy to fully fund schools in Maine, gun-control background checks; there are a number of issues that are going to be on the ballot," says Francis. "But this is something that is incredibly supported across party lines."
Maine's current statewide minimum wage is $7.50 an hour, which is 25 cents an hour above the federal minimum.