Report: $11 minimum wage in Massachusetts would cost $1.16 billion by 2016

Five habits that will save you money.
Massachusetts lawmakers are mulling the idea of raising the minimum wage to $11. File photo

As state senators began debating a bill raising the minimum wage from $8 to $11 an hour,  an interactive calculator used by The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center is estimating that 589,000 people across the state would see an increase in their wages If the minimum wage were raised to $11 an hour by 2016.

Under that bill, the total increase in wages by 2016 would be $1.16 billion. The first step of the proposed wage hike – to $9 an hour in 2014 – would increase the wages of 284,000 people at a total cost of $201 million, according to the Center.

The tool also enables users to break down impacts of a minimum wage hike by race, gender, income and education.

In a separate report, the center estimated a full-time minimum wage worker in Massachusetts makes $16,000 in 2013, about $5,000 less than he or she would earn if the minimum wage had been adjusted for inflation since 1968.

The center estimates less than 10 percent of the workforce in communities like Newton, Brookline, Needham and Wellesley would be affected by a minimum wage hike to $10.50 an hour.

By contrast, more than 20 percent of the workforce would be affected in most of western Massachusetts, Worcester, Leominster, Fitchburg Central Cape Cod, New Bedford, Attleboro, Taunton, Brockton, Somerville-Everett, Malden-Medford, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop, Lynn, Lawrence, and Lowell.

In a letter to senators Tuesday, Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst said the proposed wage hike would hurt the ability of Massachusetts businesses to compete with other states and said the Massachusetts minimum wage should remain in line with similar wage laws around the nation, noting $11 would be the highest minimum wage in the U.S.

Hurst estimated 50 percent fewer teens are working in Massachusetts today compared to more than a decade ago, asserting that a high minimum wage and the requirement that retailers pay time and a half pay to employees who work on Sunday are “job killers for Massachusetts youth.”

In opening arguments for the bill, Sen. Dan Wolf (D-Harwich), co-chairman of the Labor and Workforce Development, said the top 1 percent of earners in the United States have reaped 95 percent of the gains in the most recent economic recovery, while full-time minimum wage earners are “living in poverty.”

Wolf predicted a higher minimum wage indexed to inflation would strengthen the middle class, neighborhoods, the government, the state’s tax base and the “moral foundation” of Massachusetts.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) said Massachusetts currently has the eighth highest minimum wage in the nation. A 37.5 percent increase in the minimum wage is contemplated under the bill, said Tarr, who called for debate over “how best to increase the minimum wage” rather than on whether it should be raised. Tarr said senators, by not addressing other business costs in its bill, were considering the wage floor hike “in a vacuum.”

House leaders have expressed a preference to consider a minimum wage hike proposal in connection with unemployment insurance system reforms sought by business groups.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…