New Year Minimum Wage Increases Will Benefit Businesses Across U.S.; Business owners supportive of minimum wage increases are available for interviews

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New Year Minimum Wage Increases Will Benefit Businesses Across U.S.

Business owners supportive of minimum wage increases are available for interviews

Dec. 22, 2016—Business leaders across the country are speaking out in support of minimum wage increases taking effect on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 because of the many economic benefits associated with a higher wage floor. Nineteen states will be kicking off the new year by raising their minimum wages because of ballot measures or legislation passed in 2016 and previous years. Three additional states and the District of Columbia have scheduled increases or an annual cost of living adjustment coming in July 2017.

Business leaders believe these minimum wage increases will boost consumer spending, lower employee turnover, and increase productivity and customer satisfaction – helping businesses thrive and strengthening local economies.

Business owners and executives supportive of increasing the minimum wage, including the following Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members, are available for interviews.

Bill Phelps, CEO, Wetzel’s Pretzels, headquartered in Pasadena, CA, with locations across the country: “Low-income workers in California and numerous other states will be getting a welcome bump in pay come January 1. That means they’ll have more disposable income to spend on everything from car repairs to soft pretzels. The increased consumer spending power will go a long way in offsetting the higher hourly minimum and businesses will see other benefits as well, such as reduced employee turnover and increased productivity.”


Mike Callicrate, Owner, Ranch Foods Direct, Colorado Springs, CO: “Our business model is built on providing great products while improving the health of our land, our livestock and our people. A fair minimum wage that not only allows people working full-time to take care of themselves and their families, but goes right back into local business coffers when those same workers spend their paychecks, makes good business sense. We supported Colorado’s ballot initiative because it will increase consumer buying power and strengthen our economy.”


Michael Landgarten, Owner, Bob’s Clam Hut, Kittery, ME: “Bob’s thrives because everyone feels part of the process and committed to the mission. With fair pay our employees feel valued, work hard and serve our guests with great enthusiasm. Paying them and the rest of the workers in Maine more will lead to workers spending more, having what they need, and driving the economy from the bottom up. I’m looking forward to a stronger wage floor statewide and a level playing field for businesses. For this to work we’ll need the support of the governor and the labor department strongly enforcing all our wage laws.”



Prish Moran, Owner, Sweet_ness 7 Café, Buffalo, NY: “Raising New York’s minimum wage will strengthen our businesses and communities. I know from experience that happier, higher-paid employees are more focused and productive on the job because they are better able to meet their needs outside of work for housing, health, and other life costs. They can concentrate better on putting food on a customer’s table when they are not worried about putting food on their own table. I invest in my staff and they, in turn, help me to innovate and create the kind of lasting relationships with customers that mean not only repeat business, but that build deeper community.”


Radha Patel, Owner, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Pacifica, CA: “I rely on my employees to deliver the quality customer service our business depends on. Paying a fair wage helps me retain employees and avoid the increased hiring and training costs and customer dissatisfaction that comes with high turnover. Raising the state minimum wage will help workers better afford California’s higher cost of living and help our economy thrive.”


Rick Altig, Chairman of Altig-Orlovic American Income Life with locations in Seattle, Redmond, Tacoma, Vancouver and Spokane, WA. Altig-Orlovic was ranked No. 1 in Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2016 Washington Best Workplaces list: “Our investment in employees, including paying good wages, is key to our employees investing in the success of our business. Raising the minimum wage is a vital step in ensuring Washington workers–who are also our customers–can afford the basics and frequent the state’s businesses. Washington’s higher minimum wage will be good for workers, businesses and the entire community.”


Judy Clinco, Founder and CEO, Catalina In-Home Services, Tucson, AZ: “Arizonans did the right thing for our economy and our communities by voting to raise the minimum wage. I’ve seen in my own business that paying a decent wage improves staff retention, job performance, customer service and my bottom line, as well as improving the lives of my employees. As minimum wage increases take effect, businesses and families across the state will be able to experience those benefits.”


Matthew Hamilton, Sustainability Director for Aspen Skiing Company, Aspen, CO: “Minimum wage increases are good for our business and good for the economic vitality of our state. When people can make ends meet, they put more dollars back into the economy and have more hope for the future. And we know from experience with our 3,500 employees that our investment in them pays off in their investment in our customers and our business.”


Paul Saginaw, Co-Founding Partner, Zingerman’s, Ann Arbor, MI: “Paying a fair wage has always been central to our success. Over the last three years, we have steadily increased entry-level wages and the result has been increased efficiency, lower turnover and increased profitability. We welcome Michigan’s minimum wage increase on January 1 and strongly support action in coming years to raise it further in order to put a stronger floor under the economy and break the cycle of poverty wages.”


Michael Kanter, Co-Founder, Cambridge Naturals, Cambridge, MA, winner of the 2016 Store of the Year award from the nationwide Independent Natural Food Retailers Association: “We strongly supported raising Massachusetts’ minimum wage to $11, and we believe additional increases are needed. We recently raised our own starting wage to $15 and look forward to supporting a gradual increase to this level statewide. We want our employees, and every worker in our state, to live healthy lives and have confidence in their financial stability. It will not only improve employees’ standard of living, but strengthen Massachusetts’ business climate and local communities.”


Gary Johnson, President and CEO of AFI Contractors in Toledo, OH: “The high turnover, low-minimum wage model is bad for business, our economy and our communities. Ohioans need more than a nickel raise. Passing a bigger, phased-in minimum wage increase, as other states have done, will give low-paying businesses time to adjust – and experience the varied benefits of higher wages like increased consumer spending, lower staff turnover, increased productivity and more satisfied customers.”


Mike Draper, Owner, Raygun LLC, Kansas City, MO and Iowa: “It’s too often forgotten that employees are also consumers; when they earn more, demand for products goes up. Missouri’s small automatic increase to $7.70 will help workers for whom every bit counts in putting food on the table, but it’s just not enough to make ends meet in 2017. I look forward to a more substantial minimum wage raise in the future as a vital boost for workers, business and the economy.”


Read below for a list of scheduled increases for Dec. 31, 2016 and Jan. 1, 2017:

  • Arizona increases to $10 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed for annual cost of living increases starting in 2021
  • Arkansas increases to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2017
  • California increases to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017 with future increases to $15 by 2022. Small businesses with 25 employees or fewer will have an extra year to comply with increases, reaching $15 by 2023, and indexed for annual cost of living increases.
  • Colorado increases to $9.30 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021
  • Connecticut increases to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017
  • Hawaii increases to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2017, with an increase to $10.10 in 2018
  • Maine increases to $9 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021
  • Massachusetts increases to $11 on Jan. 1, 2017
  • Michigan increases to $8.90 on Jan. 1, 2017, with an increase to $9.25 in 2018
  • New York
    • New York City increases to $11 on Dec. 31, 2016, $13 in 2017 and $15 in 2018 for businesses with 11 employees or more; it increases to $10.50 on Dec. 31, 2016, $12 in 2017, $13.50 in 2018 and $15 in 2019 for businesses with 10 employees or fewer
    • Long Island and Westchester increase to $10 on Dec. 31, 2016, with future increases of $1 a year until reaching $15 in 2021
    • The rest of New York State increases to $9.70 on Dec. 31, 2016, with future increases to $10.40 in 2017, $11.10 in 2018, $11.80 in 2019 and $12.50 in 2020. Annual increases starting in 2021 will bring the rest of New York to $15 on a schedule to be determined based on cost of living and other indices.
  • Vermont increases to $10 on Jan. 1, 2017, with increase to $10.50 in 2018 and indexed starting in 2019
  • Washington state increases to $11 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $13.50 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021

States with Indexing where annual Cost of Living Adjustments will take effect Jan. 1, 2017 include:

  • Alaska increases to $9.80
  • Florida increases to $8.10
  • Missouri increases to $7.70
  • Montana increases to $8.15
  • New Jersey increases to $8.44
  • Ohio increases to $8.15
  • South Dakota increases to $8.65

Maryland, Oregon and the District of Columbia (DC) have increases scheduled for July 1, 2017 and Nevada’s annual cost of living adjustments are effective July 1.

The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009. That is 35 percent below the buying power of the federal minimum wage at its peak value in 1968 of $11.10 in 2016 dollars. Currently, 29 states and DC have minimum wages above the federal level.  More than 1,000 businesses and business organizations have signed the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement in support of raising the federal minimum wage to at least $12 by 2020.



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.

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