CONTACT: Erin Musgrave, firstname.lastname@example.org, (530) 864-7014
June 29, 2017—Business owners across the country are looking forward to the boost in consumer spending, reduced employee turnover, and increased productivity and customer satisfaction that will come with various state and local minimum wage increases taking effect on July 1.
Giving low-income workers a raise will strengthen communities and local businesses. Gradually raising minimum wages will mean a more stable, productive workforce as well as increased consumer buying power.
Among the two states and numerous localities that will see an increase on July 1 are Maryland, Oregon, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other California cities.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members spoke out in support of the increases and these and other business owners are available for interviews:
Gina Schaefer, owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, a group of Ace Hardware stores in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia: “Local businesses depend on local customers with money to spend. Raising pay at the bottom is good for the bottom line. When employees earn a decent starting wage, they can concentrate on their job and on customers without continual stress over making ends meet. When the minimum wage goes up it puts money in the paychecks of people who most need to spend it – from making rent to buying things from the grocer, the pharmacy and, yes, the hardware store.”
Michael Lastoria, CEO and founder of &pizza with locations in Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York: “Raising the minimum wage makes great sense for businesses, communities and the economy. The success of our fast-growing company can be directly attributed to our employees, or our Tribe members, feeling appreciated and motivated. It’s a simple but critical concept: allow your staff to thrive, and your business will thrive.”
Mark Rampolla, CEO of Beanfields Snacks, Partner, Powerplant Ventures and Founder of ZICO Coconut Water, Los Angeles: “Paying livable wages is not just the right thing to do, it’s good business. It helps lower turnover, improves team engagement and customer retention, and ultimately makes us more successful. Plus, employees in other businesses eat chips, so when they have more to spend they spend it and we gain a little of that, too.”
Kevin Marr, Co-Owner, Motel Del Rogue, Grants Pass, OR: “We’ve always paid above the minimum wage and it has paid off with employee loyalty and good service for our guests. We have employees staying for years, which is a real benefit in a rural area where it is hard to find workers. Whether rural or urban, workers need wages they can live on and businesses need customers who can afford what they are selling. When minimum wages go up on July 1 it will give our area and our state a nice boost.”
Tim Frick, CEO of Mightybytes in Chicago: “Raising Chicago’s minimum wage is smart policy. Businesses create more jobs when customers have more money to spend. Employees at one business are customers at another. A strong wage floor is vital for strong consumer spending and a vibrant economy.”
Stan Amy, Owner, New Villages Group Ltd and co-founder New Seasons Market, Portland, OR: “A stronger wage floor doesn’t just benefit workers, it strengthens consumer demand and our local economy, and that’s a huge benefit for businesses. Oregon should be proud of our innovative policy that incrementally increases wages each year in response to local costs of living and economic strength – that approach is vital for business, workers and the community to thrive.”
Brian England, Owner of British American Auto Care in Columbia, MD, whose awards include Maryland Small Business of the Year: “Paying our employees a fair wage has helped drive our customer service and success. Minimum wage increases go straight back into businesses. Working people won’t have to choose between replacing bald tires or putting in a new battery, for example. And raising the minimum wage to a more adequate level makes it less likely workers will need the social safety net.”
Jerome Dodson, President of Parnassus Investments in San Francisco: “I’ve seen firsthand that paying good wages are a good investment for business. I manage our Parnassus Endeavor Fund, a mutual fund investing exclusively in companies regarded as great places to work. The Endeavor Fund has delivered better returns for investors than the S&P 500 index and has been in the top of its category over the past decade. Raising the minimum wage creates an economic ripple effect that will show in businesses’ bottom lines and in a better economy.”
Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said, “July 1 brings a welcome round of state and city minimum wage increases that will benefit businesses and local economies. July 24, by contrast, will mark the eighth anniversary of the last raise in the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009. While it’s vital for states and cities to act where possible to raise their minimum wage, we also need a federal increase so that Americans can benefit from a strong wage floor wherever they live or do business.”
July 1 increases include:
- Maryland’s state minimum wage increases from $8.75 to $9.25, with a future increase to $10.10 in 2018.
- Montgomery County, MD increases from $10.75 to $11.50.
- Oregon increases the standard minimum wage rate from $9.75 to $10.25; the metro Portland rate goes from $9.75 to $11.25; and the rate for non-urban counties goes from $9.50 to $10. Future rates for the three geographic areas are summarized here.
- Chicago increases from $10.50 to $11, with future increases to $13 in 2019.
- Cook County, IL increases to $10, with future increases to $13 by 2020.
- Washington, D.C. increases from $11.50 to $12.50, with future increases to $15 by 2020.
- Los Angeles (city) increases from $10.50 to $12, with future increases to $15 by 2020 for businesses with 26 or more employees; businesses with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply, with a rate of $10.50 in 2017 and reaching $15 in 2021.
- Los Angeles County (unincorporated areas) increases from $10.50 to $12, with future increases to $15 by 2020 for businesses with 26 or more employees; businesses with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply, with a rate of $10.50 in 2017 and reaching $15 in 2021.
- San Francisco increases from $13 to $14, reaching $15 in 2018.
Click here for additional cities raising their minimum wage on July 1.
To schedule interviews with business owners and executives supportive of an increase, contact Erin Musgrave at email@example.com or (530) 864-7014.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives and business organizations that believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.