This November, voters will be faced with referendum questions that will have a drastic effect on Maine’s tourism industry.
Question 4 proposes increasing the state’s hourly minimum wage rate by 62 percent, indexing future rate increases to inflation, and eliminating the credit for tipped workers.
Should Question 4 pass, Maine will have the third-highest minimum wage in nation. At $12 per hour, Maine’s minimum wage would be the highest of all New England states by 2020. And since the rate will automatically adjust to inflation in the future, there is no telling what the minimum wage will be down the road.
Maine’s tourism industry is extremely susceptible to mandated increased payroll costs. A hike of $4.50 in the minimum wage over three years coupled with changes in the federal overtime rules is a perfect storm and may result in some businesses deciding to close their doors for good.
Diane Johanson, government affairs director
Maine Tourism Association