AUGUSTA | Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the effective date of an increase in Maine’s minimum wage, less than a week after thousands of Mainers received another pay raise as Maine’s minimum wage increased to $10 per hour.

According to the Maine Center on Economic Policy, 59,000 Mainers will receive higher pay as a result of this month’s increase. Additional analysis shows that total wages in Maine grew by $587 million in the first half of 2017 compared with the first half of 2016 – a 4.7 percent year-over-year increase.

Democrats in the Maine State Legislature beat back efforts by Republicans and Governor LePage during the 128th Legislature to repeal, undermine or replace the successful minimum wage increase passed by Maine voters in a November 2016 referendum.

To mark the anniversary, House Speaker Sara Gideon released the following statement:
“Raising the minimum wage provides hard-working Mainers with income to spend on the basics they need. The fact is that no one working full-time should be living in poverty. This latest increase means that 1 out of every 10 Maine workers is going to see more money in their paychecks to spend in their local community.”
“Raising the minimum wage is also good for business. Across the state, owners of small and large businesses are recognizing that fair wages and higher profits go hand in hand; it’s good for the bottom line. House Democrats will continue to fight for policies that strengthen Maine’s economy.”

Assistant House Majority Leader Jared Golden issued the following statement:
“We’ve been fighting to protect workers and their wages for years, but last year’s increase in the minimum wage was more than a political victory, it made a real difference in the lives of everyday people trying to make an honest day’s pay across our state.”

“That overdue raise went directly into families’ pockets and the cash registers of our local businesses, strengthening Maine’s economy and our communities. We’ve made a lot of progress over the last year in ensuring Maine’s economy works for everyone, not just a lucky few. The minimum wage increase was a big part of that.”