The debate over the minimum wage will return to the state house this session. A proposal to reestablish a state minimum wage failed last year in the Republican-controlled state Senate. This session, Democrats hope to set a state minimum wage at $8.25 an hour.
One of the state’s largest unions, the AFL-CIO, has come out in favor of the proposal. Campaign Coordinator Judy Stadtman says, “It’s going to have immediate benefits for thousands of New Hampshire families.”
“You have a market at work here in New Hampshire that is creating a wage base that is higher than the minimum wage," Berke says. "And if you increase the minimum wage, you’re just going to increase those pressures upward on the entire wage structure.”
New Hampshire’s minimum wage has been tied to the federal standard of $7.25 an hour since 2011.
The US Department of Labor reports New Hampshire is among 19 states that matches the federal wage. This month, increases above the federal level went into effect in more than a dozen states. That brings the total to 20 states that are above the federal standard.