Tuesday, 02 January 2018 09:01

Tax cuts could help usher in 2018 minimum wage hike Featured

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STATEWIDE - Mainers are waking up to minimum wage increases on New Years Day for the second year in a row. 

"The first thing that most businesses will take a look at is, 'Ahh' I've got this increase," says Brien Walton, Director of the Husson University Center for Family Business. "How are we going to observe that?"

The new year is bringing new expenses for Maine businesses as the state's minimum wage increases from $9 to $10 per hour.

"The biggest strategy to use is leveraging the tax breaks," says Walton. "So if you have tax incentives, that can offset absorbing that additional dollar per hour cost."

Walton is among those who think 2018's minimum wage increase will have a generally positive effect for the state of Maine.

"Increasing the minimum wage allows more people to have a sustainable living," he says. 

In addition to helping more Mainers live above the poverty line, with new tax breaks coming in 2018 as a result of the recently passed GOP tax plan, Walton believes businesses will be able to avoid transferring costs to consumers and firing or stop hiring employees.

Instead, he thinks it will allow businesses to absorb the costs associated with a minimum wage hike, which will have a positive effect in multiple areas.

"As the wage increases come, people higher up on the totem pole will also be able to increase their wages," says Walton. "But it's a net effect of basically spurring the economy, spurring businesses, and incentivizing employers to do more for their employees."

Maine is one of three New England states raising wages this January.

This, after Mainers voted to enact the law following the 2016 election.

Walton says it's ultimately the gradual decline that makes the minimum wage hike more beneficial to Maine business.

"Consider the long-term benefit," he says. "There's good will of increasing the wage for your employees, it's better retention."

"It's much more expensive to hire and train new employees than to keep good ones," he adds.

The minimum wage will continue to increase year to year until 2020, where it will then be indexed to inflation. 

 

Blake Lipton

Morning Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Blake Lipton joined the ABC 7 and Fox 22 news team in January of 2016 and is excited to start his career in television as a morning anchor at our station!

He is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and has previously interned with the ESPNU/SEC Network, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and the WOLO sports department in Columbia, South Carolina during his time in school.

Blake also worked with the Weather Channel to help cover the historic South Carolina floods in the fall of 2015.

While most of his experience is in sports, Blake is thrilled for the opportunity to host the morning show at Fox ABC Maine and become a more well-rounded journalist and storyteller.

When he is not anchoring or reporting, Blake enjoys hiking, reading and talking anything football. He is also a fan of coffee and hip-hop music.

Feel free to reach out to him with story ideas at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @Blake_Lipton for the latest updates on everything Maine!