Should state contracts have higher minimum wage?

May 31, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Since taking office this January, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky has asked the same question before voting on any state contract: what is the lowest wage the contractor pays an employee?

Volinsky highlights the results in each meeting report under a section titled “$15 an Hour.”  He hopes publishing this information will lay the groundwork for a law that requires a $15 minimum hourly wage in all state contracts.

This law would have to come from the New Hampshire Legislature.  Last year the House of Representatives killed a bill that would have required contractors to pay prevailing wages for public works projects. The prevailing wage is determined by the U.S. Department of Labor and reflects the average wages paid to workers for similar projects in the region.

This year there are no bills to raise the minimum wage in state contracts.  The current legal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.  The lowest wage in Volinsky’s reports so far is $9.50.  The highest is $32.50.

Supporters of a higher minimum wage in state contracts argue that higher wages boost the economy by giving workers more money to spend.  A higher minimum wage could also decrease the number of workers who need state assistance.

Opponents of a higher minimum wage in state contracts argue that it will increase costs for contractors and therefore the state.  Opponents also note that most of the wages Volinsky has reported already fall between $13 and $15 dollars.

Do you support Councilor Volinsky’s efforts to raise the minimum wage in state contracts?  Share your opinion in the comments below.

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Minimum Wage Increase | 3 comment(s)
Should NH raise the minimum wage?

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Executive Councilor (2016 - present); Activist Lawyer

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