Working people should not be living in poverty. Ensure employees are paid a living wage.
For the past 40 years, Granite Staters have been working harder than ever. Productivity has increased, but for most families, wages are flat and have not kept up with rising costs.
The federal minimum wage that New Hampshire currently aligns with was last increased in 2009. Inflation has eroded the buying power of the minimum wage. In 2019 a minimum wage worker would need to work more than 44 extra days over the course of a year to make the same in real terms that they did in 2009. Over the decade this amounts to the loss of $13,329, nearly a full year of pay for a minimum wage worker.
When jobs don’t pay enough working people turn to public assistance to meet their basic needs. One third of recipients of cash assistance welfare benefits from the TANF program and thirty six percent of recipients of SNAP food stamp benefits are working families.
New Hampshire is one of the states with the highest percentage of public assistance funds, over 60%, going to working families. These programs provide vital support to working families whose employers pay less than livable wages. These are among the hidden social costs of low wage work. Higher wages would help lower these public assistance costs.
Raising the minimum wage will enable thousands for working families to afford their basic needs and begin saving for the future. And when working people earn a higher wage, they have more money to put back into our communities, helping to build a stronger, more prosperous economy that works for everyone.