State Representative Dave Yaccarino (R-87) yesterday voted against raising the state’s minimum wage and increasing mandates on struggling Connecticut businesses.
“With the economy, and small businesses across our state, still struggling to stay competitive I believe it’s the wrong time to put another mandate on how they operate,” Rep. Yaccarino said. “We should be doing everything we can to help these small businesses remain competitive so they can succeed and ultimately hire more workers, not force them to spend money they don’t have just to stay open.”
In 2011 alone, more than 12,000 Connecticut businesses closed their doors according to information from the Secretary of State’s Website. During testimony on the floor of the House, Rep. Yaccarino referenced his own business and said this past year was one of the most difficult he’s ever experienced.
“As a small business owner I am faced with constantly changing energy and material costs, the only cost I can control is the cost of labor,” Rep. Yaccarino said. “In the past 20 years I have employed up to 10 full and part-time employees but in the past three years I have been forced to reduce staff due to a weakening economy and increased cost demands. Like all businesses I have to stick to a tight budget in order to remain competitive. I can speak from experience; this law will have a detrimental effect and will force many businesses to reduce staff.”
Rep. Yaccarino also pointed out that raising the minimum wage reduces the availability of entry-level jobs which provide on-the-job training and experience and a higher minimum wage will saw off the bottom rung of many workers’ career ladders.
“When the economy is healthy we can come back to this,” Rep. Yaccarino said. “We are coming out of the worst economic times since the great depression and this increase will disproportionately impact the employment of our high school and returning college students looking for after school and summer jobs.”
As an alternative way to provide relief for already overburdened taxpayers, Rep. Yaccarino proposed repealing the taxes on clothing and shoes that cost less than $50 and on non-prescription drugs.
“Most employers would love to pay more than the minimum wage but market forces dictate what a reasonable wage for a specific job truly is,” Rep. Yaccarino said. “In my business I have been fortunate to be able to always pay more than the mandatory minimum, but I was able to do that because business was good. Forcing businesses to spend more than they have coming in is a recipe for disaster.”
Connecticut currently has the fourth highest minimum wage in the country and 65% of businesses in CT say that the cost of doing business is the greatest challenge that they face. Increasing the minimum wage increases the cost of doing business.