State House votes to increase minimum wage to $15 in 5 years
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Democrats aren’t maxed out on trying to set and increase a minimum wage.
The Democrat-led New Hampshire House voted once again Thursday to establish and gradually increase the state’s minimum wage, despite a likely veto from Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.
Sununu vetoed a bill last year that would have created a $10 per hour minimum wage this year and raised it to $12 in 2022, but Democrats believe their chances are better now that surrounding states have increased their minimums. For now, New Hampshire defaults to the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
“Putting money in the hands of spenders instead of savers and speculators will reverse our trend toward a second Gilded Age and stimulate our economy,” said Rep. Joshua Adjutant, D-Grafton.
The Senate voted Wednesday to further study a bill that would set the minimum at $9.50 now and increase it to $12 in 2022. But the House approved a bill Thursday that would set the minimum at $8.50, rising gradually to $15 in 2025. The 212-155 vote was well short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a veto.
Opponents said the bill would push small businesses to reduce hours and increase automation of jobs.
“If you want to hurt labor, and you want to hurt the people making minimum wage, you want to put another nail in the coffin vote for this bill,” said Rep. Jack Flanagan, R-Brookline.