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Governor’s Address: Maine People’s Alliance Should Put its Money where its Mouth is

The debate on whether or not voters should increase Maine’s minimum wage continues, but now liberals pushing for it are exposed for hypocrisy.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,
For years, the liberal ring leader of the Maine People’s Alliance, Mike Tipping, has created a wage war claiming minimum wage is not a livable wage. And for years, we now know that Tipping has been speaking out of both sides of his mouth. That’s because the liberal think tank posted an ad on Craigslist to recruit canvassers and community organizers to “Work toward a fair minimum wage for Maine.” At the same time, Tipping’s group said it would pay about $10 per hour – what is described as a “starting or training wage.”
Tipping led the effort to get the question on November’s ballot asking voters to raise Maine’s minimum wage by 60 percent from to $7.50 to $12 an hour. However, this ad proves Tipping is unwilling to put his money where his mouth is. Of course, Tipping says it was an “honest mistake in that it was a calculating error.” When called on it, he quickly claimed the position pays $12 per hour.
So, if this is true, Tipping ought to verify what rates have been and are currently paid by the Alliance. Is there anyone paid by the Alliance who makes less than $12 per hour today or has been paid less since the referendum project started. This is important because Tipping for years has pushed for a minimum wage increase. If anything less is discovered, Tipping ought to reimburse those workers.
As your Governor and a businessman, I have maintained that the minimum wage is a training wage. I agree with the concept of Tipping’s ad, which promotes the job as a “starting wage.” The ad even goes on to read, “extensive training makes for excellent professional development and resume-building.” A training wage is valuable for those entering the workforce and others who are learning to acquire new skills. However, raising Maine’s minimum wage by 60 percent is not going to provide a livable wage to anyone regardless.
If anything this proposal will hurt Mainers living on fixed incomes. For example, there are more than 325-thousand Mainers who receive social security benefits. Anyone living on Social Security knows the annual rate increase is very low. The proposed minimum wage hike increases much faster than the annual increases to Social Security. I have said that this wage war – if it passes – is going to hurt those on fixed incomes and our seniors will suffer the most.
Liberals want to spend their way to economic prosperity when the reality is increasing costs on businesses only weakens our economy.
Instead, of continuing a wage war I urge Mainers to demand optimal wages. We can help create this economic environment through good public policies, such as lowering energy costs and reducing taxes. In order to strengthen our economy, we must be willing to understand our economy as a whole, not only the wages we earn.
Thank You,
Paul R. LePage
Governor

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