House Democrats reject competing Maine minimum wage effort

A referendum to raise Maine’s hourly minimum wage to $12 by 2020 is all but assured to head to the 2016 ballot without a competing measure after a legislative vote on Thursday.

That’s been the likely outcome since majority Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to send it to the ballot last week, but they voted 78-67 to kill a bill on Thursday that Republicans hoped to use to send a smaller increase to the ballot alongside it.

Calling the $12 proposal — backed by progressive groups including the Maine People’s Alliance and labor unions — too radical, business groups have been lobbying lawmakers to include on the ballot a competing measure to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour.

Both bills face further action in the Republican-controlled Senate, which could back the smaller proposal. But the House will almost certainly hold its position, sending the $12 proposal to the ballot alone.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.