Minimum Wage: Increases in Maine and Washington Get Voted Down

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Maine: Portland Voters Say No to $15 Minimum Wage

A proposed referendum that would have increased the minimum wage in Portland, Maine, to $15 per hour by 2017 for companies and franchises employing 500 or more people was given a thumbs down by voters on Tuesday, November 3, as reported by the Bangor Daily News (BDN).

The city’s minimum wage was already scheduled to increase to $10.10 per hour in January 2016, and BDN said it is likely that in 2016 voters will be asked to weigh in on a statewide increase to $12 per hour by 2020.

BDN noted that opponents of the increase — led by the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce and its political action committee, Too Far, Too Fast — said businesses could not support the wage hike to $15, but could deal with the upcoming increase to $10.10.

Washington: Tacoma Voters Choose Lesser of Two Minimum Wage Increases

On Tuesday, Tacoma residents were asked to vote on increasing the minimum wage to either $15 immediately or to $12 by 2018. And, by a large margin, voters chose the lesser increase of $12, as reported by the Seattle Times.

At present, the state minimum wage is $9.47. The first step toward the new Tacoma figure will be $10.35, starting February 1, 2016, the Times noted.

The supporters of the $12 increase included the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Restaurant Association, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Business Alliance.