We, the undersigned business owners and executives, support an increase in the minimum wage to benefit workers, business and our economy. We know that the minimum wage is simply not enough for workers to afford necessities for themselves and their families. We know that a fair wage floor is essential to healthy businesses and communities, and enduring economic growth.
We expect an increased minimum wage to provide a boost to local economies. Businesses and communities will benefit as low-wage workers spend their much-needed pay raises at businesses in the neighborhoods where they live and work.
Higher wages benefit business by increasing consumer purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity, and improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation. In a recent National Consumers League survey, for example, 76 percent of American consumers said "how well a company treats/pays employees influences what they buy."
States that raised their minimum wages above the decade-long $5.15 federal level had better employment and small business trends than the other states. Studies by the Fiscal Policy Institute and others show that in states with minimum wages above $5.15, the number of small businesses and the number of small business employees grew more than the other states -- contrary to what critics predicted. Likewise, after the last federal minimum wage increases in 1996 and 1997, the nation experienced lower unemployment, low inflation, robust growth and declining poverty rates.
At $6.55 an hour, today's minimum wage workers still have less buying power than minimum wage workers had half a century ago. We cannot build a strong 21st century economy on a 1950s' wage floor. We cannot build a strong 21st century economy when more and more hardworking Americans struggle to make ends meet.
A fair minimum wage shows we value both work and responsible businesses. A fair minimum wage is a sound investment in the future of our communities and our nation.