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Raising the minimum wage benefits the local economy

By Staff | Sep 23, 2020

To the editor:

Amendment 2 would increase minimum wage over the next six years until it rises up to $15 per hour. Currently the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median hourly wage in Cape Coral is $16.87.

Should the voters increase the minimum wage in six years rise to $1.87 below the current actual wage paid by employers? That is the decision voters will make in November.

Where wages were mandated elsewhere in the country to be higher than the national minimum wage, the sky did not fall. Of course, each Chamber of Commerce predicted dire, but false, consequences in Miami, New York and San Francisco opposing the wage hike mandates of $15 an hour. The voters didn’t fall for it, and the increased wage requirements have been in effect successfully elsewhere for most of this century. Those cities have flourished economically. Indeed where cities have already passed a minimum wage hike small business employers have seen an increase in revenue. This is particularly true for areas, like Southwest Florida, where tourism is one of the main engines of the economy.

Why? The economic principle of the multiplier effect: for every dollar expended in wages, $.80 or more comes back as local revenue; as it is spent in the same community by the local wage earner. Wages provide a buffer of revenue generated locally during the off season for small businesses. Spending local im-proves the community by recirculating the money among the local businesses. Employees tend to buy in the community, creating more wealth. Paying your employees a living wage improves the circulation of that currency back into the community.

Leveling the playing field, so that employers who pay $16.87 are not competing at a disadvantage with corporations who play the federal minimum wage, means that local employers who pay a living wage can reap the money spent by consumer employees. It is sound fiscal policy to vote in favor of Measure 2 on Nov. 3.

Ellen Starbird

Cape Coral