$15 Wage, Family Leave Pressed At Capitol

Lucy Gellman PhotosHartford—Paying minimum-wage workers $15 an hour would drive “the 1 percent” and the jobs they create out of Connecticut, argued a Republican lawmaker from East Haddam. To which a New Haven Democrat shot back: It’s time low-wage workers get a break, too.

That exchange between took place here Thursday afternoon at a marathon hearing of the state legislature’s Labor and and Public Employees Committee, where two lightning-rod bills in the ongoing income-inequality debate were taken up: One to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 per hour by 2022; the other to require all employers to give workers paid family medical leave.

These two proposals generally pitted unions and labor-friendly Democrats and advocates against Republicans and business groups with differing views of how jobs are created and lost and wealth is shared.

The spirited debate Thursday began an hour before members of the public testified at the hearing. Republican State Rep. Melissa Ziobron of East Haddam — who has proposed a counter-measure to increase the number of hours that businesses can ask employees under the age of 19 to work — predicted that a minimum wage hike would decimate businesses and drive out the state’s “1 percent.”

“I’m thinking about the 1 percent as the safety net of Connecticut,” she said. Her district, which comprises East Hampton, East Haddam and parts of Colchester, includes many business owners who are responsible for keeping people employed, she said.

“Think about the 1 percent,” she urged.

“Are you aware that Connecticut is growing millionaires?” New Haven State Rep. Robyn Porter, who represents the lower-income Newhallville neighborhood, asked Ziobron. After a year focused on closing a nearly $1 billion budget largely through cuts to the needy, the Connecticut General Assembly had returned with a bigger, $1.7 billion projected hole in the budget, Porter said — yet it continues to rule out taxing the state’s highest earners, hedge fund managers, and business owners. Porter told Ziobron that failing to raise the minimum wage doesn’t protecting the state’s businesses — it punishes people struggling to pay their bills.

Ziobron countered with an anecdote about her favorite cafe, a little outpost called Abbeez Frozen Yogurt Bar. If the minimum wage were raised to $15 in the next five years, she said, the owner would have to close the business and fire her existing handful of employees.

For decades now, both sides of this debate nationally have cited competing studies to claim that raising the wage does, or doesn’t, lead to small-business closings. The most recent consensus of economists is that the minimum can grow in many places without corresponding hiring dips, though finding that tipping point is not an exact science, and both sides have anecdotal evidence to bolster their case.

“I’m thinking about my constituents,” who are simply struggling to make ends meet with a living wage, Porter fired back. “I’m just concerned we’re putting all of our eggs in the 1 percent basket,” she said later in the evening. “Why aren’t we investing more in the middle class ... putting our eggs in the 99 percent basket?”

The Calm Before The Storm

Hours before the hearing began, New Haven legislators joined other Democrats at a press conference to voice their support for the bills .  Joined by several low-wage workers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members, paid family leave advocates, and members of Connecticut Working Families, legislators painting them as intertwined.

Right now employers must by law offer only unpaid leave for new parents, caregivers and workers with serious illnesses; the bill now up, pushed for years by New Haven State Sen. Martin Looney,  would extend the benefits of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all current workers, who would pay into the system. These two proposals have generally pitted unions and labor-friendly Democrats against Republicans and business groups.

The support for the bills comes after a failed attempt to pass minimum wage increases and paid family and medical leave during last year’s legislative session. In December of last year, the Connecticut Low-Wage Employer Advisory Board released a new report, with data that Democrats are now using to back their arguments. Using collected testimonies, public policy background, and livable wage calculations, the report concluded that 20 percent of Connecticut’s workforce (that’s 336,000 workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute) currently earn less than $15 an hour. Those professions include “child care providers, fast food workers, agricultural workers, home care workers providing care for disabled and elderly individuals, security guards, industrial laundry workers,” among others.

Opponents have argued that minimum-wage workers are largely teenagers or young adults earning discretionary income. Looney dismissed that characterization as a “fake fact,” stating that the average low wage worker is a woman in her 30s with children. He added that, according to the report, the low-wage workforce is “disproportionately female, African American, and Latino.” 

“Requiring a sufficient minimum wage in the State of Connecticut is not a luxury; it’s an existential right,” said Looney. “It is a critically important issue for thousands upon thousands of Connecticut families. For parents trying to make ends meet, for single moms working two or three jobs just to provide basic necessities for their children, there may be no more important, pressing issue than earning a fair, adequate and ‘livable’ wage.”

“The inability of employees to take paid time off to care for loved ones or themselves can leave them with no choice but to abandon family members in their time of need, or to neglect their own health,” he added. “Working families should not have to face the prospect of economic ruin when presented with serious family needs such as caring for a newborn, a spouse, or their parents.”

“This will be the year we finally get this through,” added State Rep. Porter. “It’s common-sense reform. And families need this.”

Who Earns The Minimum


California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts have all raised their minimum wages to similar levels to New Haven’s proposal, and may now begin to attract Connecticut’s workforce, Looney argued. Judging on those states’ early outcomes of raising the minimum wage, economies appeared buoyed by the decision—jobs didn’t leave the state, and workers were more likely to invest back into their communities. (You can read the full report here.) 

Writing in, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp added her voice to that mix with statistics: Minimum-wage earners working a 40-hour work week earn $21,008 annually, which falls significantly under the national poverty line ($28,290). Since its increase to $10.10 last year, the state’s new minimum wage has “improved the lives” of over 70,000 residents—but could be doing a great deal more, according to Harp.

“It is not a partisan stance to say that every Connecticut resident working a 40-hour week should be paid enough to build a safe, healthy life without needing to rely on government assistance for housing, healthcare, or food,” she wrote. “The path out of poverty is not an individual but a collective endeavor, and it reaps rewards not just for the worker but for our entire community.”

That argument was the beginning of a battle for which both sides arrived prepared, armed with printed and practiced testimony that they waited hours to give. Like Gretchen Raffa, director of public policy, advocacy and strategic engagement and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Raffa arrived around 2 p.m. for the beginning of the hearing; she took the mic close to 10.

Speaking on both paid family leave and minimum wage increases, she made her pitch: there was no way this wouldn’t be good for the state’s economy.

“No one who is working full-time should be in poverty,” she said, locking eyes with Porter and Sen. Ed Gomes at points. “The current minimum wage is too low to allow Connecticut workers to have even minimal security or dignity. This bill ... will protect the rights of Connecticut workers by guaranteeing the health and economic security of all Connecticut citizens, which would allow Connecticut citizens to thrive instead of barely surviving.”

Others took the same data-driven tack. Labor economist Jeanette Wicks-Lim spoke about states that had raised the minimum wage, noting that Ziobron’s vision of job loss had never come to pass in California and Wisconsin. Instead of leaving the state, businesses remained, and their workers stayed on for longer. Cities, meanwhile, saw a rise in their residents investing resources back into communities.

Speaking on behalf of Connecticut Voices for Children, Derek Thomas of New Haven argued that over 110,000 children would benefit from a raise in minimum wage, drawing legislators’ attention to data collected from the Connecticut’s Self-Sufficiency Standard, measuring income adequacy for women and their families in the state.

Those findings? The amount needed to “make ends meet” for one adult and one preschooler varies tremendously, Thomas said—from $21.14 per hour ($44,675 annually) in Windham to $36.84 per hour ($77,800 annually) in Lower Fairfield. That’s 280 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 488 percent of the FPL, according to the report.

In other words, Thomas said, “A $15 minimum wage makes sense to ensure that full-time workers can afford to live and work in Connecticut ... strengthening the minimum wage would significantly impact the standard of living for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut workers and their families.”

“We’d Be Done”

Speaking on behalf of his company Educational Playcare, Connecticut Childcare Association Director Gerry Pastor expressed his concerns with the raise in minimum wage.

“Not to sound overly dramatic, but the raise in minimum wage is going to wipe out the entire child care community,” he said.

Over 35 years, Pastor and his wife have expanded Educational Playcare to cover 13 sites across the state, serving 2,000 children a year with the help of 450 teachers and staff. While some of their teachers already make more than that depending on their education level, several of their staff members do not. A raise in minimum wage would result in a raise for everyone, he said. Which Pastor said he likes in theory—but can’t afford. 

That’s the catch, he told legislators. Connecticut already has very high costs of childcare: the average cost for an infant is $14,079 a year, and he and his wife aren’t willing to raise tuition (close to $700 per month). So they’re waiting to see what happens.

“If this passes, we’d be done,” he said after giving his testimony, miming locking a door for the last time. “I’m 65, so I wouldn’t go to another state. But we’d have to close. There’s no way [of us] absorbing the increase in wages.”

He wasn’t the only one who voiced concerns. Representing South Windsor’s Parks and Recreation Department, Ray Favreau invoked the 660 parks in the state that are maintained, in part, by workers earning less than $15 an hour.

“In Connecticut, you’re adding $500,000 to the budget to accommodate that increase. You’re asking us to raise our user fees,” he said.

Eric W. Gjede, assistant counsel for the Connecticut Business Industry Association, testified that if the cost of maintaining low-wage workers goes up, legislators will see a number of big-box stores and small businesses leave the state. 

“The cost of many of these proposals would add comes at massive cost to businesses,” he said, referencing both the raise in minimum wage and paid family and medical leave. “It’s a bad deal for our businesses and taxpayers. Paid sick leave destroyed businesses, and this is going to again.”

He predicted that a rising minimum wage will hasten the introduction of automation—self-serve kiosks in the grocery store, or at large restaurant franchises like McDonald’s. Like Ziobron, he argued that if wages continue to rise, businesses will leave the state along with wealthy residents. He invoked General Electric’s move last year, suggesting other companies would follow. (Republicans generally argue that Connecticut taxes and unresponsive government drove out GE; Democrats largely argue that GE made a strategic decision to relocate to a better tech-and-high-education environment of the kind that government can help nurture here.)

And new businesses will be less likely to come here with a $20.20 minimum wage, Gjede predicted. 

“From what you’re saying the math is completely correct,” said Rep. Mike Bocchino, who represents Greenwich. “I’m hearing you say that companies are using automation as a threat—but it’s not a threat, it’s a reality. That’s going to be the end of the workforce.”

“The math that you’re talking about involves a hell of a lot of other people,” Gomes responded. “If you want to make the economy work, give people a decent wage! Years ago, when people talked about giants of industry, they used the term robber barons. Well, the robber barons are back.”

“We need businesses to compete,” Gjede responded.

“Sandwich Generation Syndrome”


Gjede also voiced concern over the proposal to institute mandatory paid family and medical leave, which would deduct a portion of employers’ paychecks each month and place it into a dedicated fund.

A host of New Haven Democrats — Looney, Porter, Rep. Juan Candelaria, Rep. Roland Lemar — have proposed the bill along with Hamden Reps. James Albis, Mike D’Agostino and Josh Elliott.  At the pre-hearing press conference,  Looney said the bill aims at “sandwich generation syndrome”—stuck between caring for a child and an aging parent at the same time.

Gjede said he’s sympathetic to the sandwich generation, and believes as a representative of the CBIA that businesses should offer employees paid family and medical leave if they can afford to do so. But he argued employees should not have to partially subsidize a benefit they may or may not use. He also said he concerned mandatory paid leave would drive potential workers and their potential employers from the state.

“Why should employees have to subsidize the program?” he asked, also noting that paid family leave created temporary positions that businesses needed to fill. 

Lucy Nolan, director of End Hunger Connecticut!, had a different idea entirely about the bill. Leaning forward into the microphone, she explained that the organization, as small as it was, had offered paid family and medical leave since its inception, leading higher rates of retention overall when employees returned to work. 

“If our little small organization can do it,” she said, “I don’t see how others can’t.”

Following is a status report on bills of particular interest to New Haven before the state legislature this session:

The 2017 Agenda

Bill #StatusSummarySponsors
SB11/ HB5539Committee DeniedWould legalize, tax recreational use of marijuana.Candelaria
et al
SB 17Committee ApprovedWould make certain undocumented immigrant students (DREAMers) eligible for state college financial aid.Looney
HB 5434Committee ApprovedWould have CT join with other states to elect the President based on popular, rather than Electoral College, vote.Winfield,
et al.
HB 5458, HB 6058Committee ApprovedWould establish electronic tolls on state highways.Genga
HB 5575/HB 7126Passed SenateWould regulate companies such as Uber and Lyft.Scanlon
HB 5589Passed HouseWould expand disclosure requirements for contributions to campaign funds.Dillon
et al.
HB 5591Passed HouseWould require equal pay for employees doing comparable work.Dillon
et al.
HB 5703Committee DeniedWould have CT enter into an agreement with other states to limit "poaching" of each other's businesses.Lemar
HJ 13/HJr 95Passed HouseWould amend the state constitution to permit early voting.Lemar
HJ 16In CommiteeWould amend the state constitution to permit absentee voting for all voters.Lemar
SB 1/HB 6212Committee ApprovedWould require employers to provide paid family and medical leave for their employees.Looney
SB 2Committee ApprovedWould make the education funding formula more equitable.Duff
SB 8Committee DeniedWould allow municipalities to adopt a 0.5% sales tax.Looney
SB 10/HB 5743Passed SenateWould strengthen hate crime laws.Winfield
SB 13/HB 6208/HB 6456Committee ApprovedWould increase the minimum wage.Looney
et al.
SB 137Committee DeniedWould expand birth-to-three and provide universal pre-school, among other things.Gerratana
SJ 5/HJ 1Passed HouseWould amend the state constitution to create a "lock-box" for transportation funding.Duff
HB 5588Committee DeniedWould limit certain bond allocations.Dillon
et al.
HB 5912HB 6127Committee DeniedWould establish a 1-cent/ounce tax on sugared beverages.Lemar
et al.
HB 6554Committee DeniedWould tax carried interest as ordinary income.Porter
et al.
HB 5831Committee DeniedWould provide bonding for transitional housing for NH female ex- offenders.Porter
SB 631Committee DeniedWould provide bonding to make structural improvements to the Shubert Theatre.Winfield
HB 6863Committee DeniedWould authorize bonds for renovating the Barbell Club as a youth/ community center.Canelaria
SB 649Committee ApprovedWould allow local building officials to impose fines for building w/o a permit.Looney
Et al.
SB 590/591Committee DeniedWould limit police ccoperation w/Immigration and Customs Enforcement (590); establish an immigrant's bill of rightsWinfield
SB 20Committee DeniedWould require affordability to be considered in reviewing proposed health insurance rate hikes.Looney
HB 6352Committee ApprovedWould establish a deposit system for car tires.Ritter
HB 6901Committee DeniedWould impose a surtax on large employers that pay an average wage less than $15/hour.Elliott
HB 7278Passed SenateWould convey various parcels to New Haven, among other things.Gov't Administration and Elections

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posted by: westville man on February 17, 2017  10:29am

I could not tell from the article if the FMLA extension would apply to all businesses and employees, regardless of size. I would appreciate a clarification if anyone knows. My concern would be small businesses who employ a specialized workforce and cannot hold a job open for someone on leave for that amount of time.

posted by: Wooster Squared on February 17, 2017  11:08am

There’s a strong case to raise the minimum wage in CT, but the proposal to require all employers to provide paid medical and family leave is a dumpster fire. You don’t help the little guy by taking money from other little guys - completely unfair thing to do.

Most small business (think 10 employees or less) don’t have the profit margins or scale to pay for people who aren’t working at the time. I’ve worked for small companies where having to pay for a worker while who person was out on leave would have been the difference between making payroll or not that month.

Whoever drafted this proposal needs to spend some time in the real world to see how shockingly unfair this proposal would be to small business owners. Most of the time when the CT GOP says that a proposal will “kill jobs” or “drive away business” they are blowing hot air, but this time they’re absolutely right. If Looney and company manage to push this through, the democrats are going to lose a lot of seats.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on February 17, 2017  11:29am

What the Left should also be fighting for is a full 40hrs/week for everyone.

So many of the big retailers, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. purposely give employees just 3-4 shifts per week, (24-32hrs.) This provides the employer with huge scheduling flexibility, and avoids their ever having to pay overtime.

However it leaves the employees, begging for hours and at huge disadvantage relative to their managers,—who hold a constant threat of cutting back shifts against them.

Bottom line is that in many instances the employee can’t say a word about unfair treatment, without immediately seeming their hours cut.


posted by: westville man on February 17, 2017  11:29am

Wooster- My read on this is that the state will pay for it through employer/employee contributions from weekly payroll. But I could be wrong on that.  Holding the position open and replacement issues concern me.  It’s just not possble in small businesses generally.

posted by: 1644 on February 17, 2017  11:31am

The 2017 federal poverty line for an individual is $12,060.  The $28,780, attributed to Harp,  quoted in the article is for a family of five!  Why would some one with only minimum wage earning power choose to have such a large family?  Planned Parenthood has the answer to poverty, but it’s not raising the minimum to uncompetitive levels.
I, also, note, we are not really speaking of the top 1% being harmed here.  The hedge-funders and CEOs can easily pay their nannies, gardeners, and housekeepers $15/hour, and may well do so already.  Rather, it is the small businessman, running a taco truck, a breakfast nook, coffee shop, home-health agency, day care, etc. who will will be forced out or business.  Big, brick & mortar retail, such as Sears & Macy’s, already collapsing, will die sooner.  All of which will erode property tax rolls just when Malloy and company want to place huge new burdens on the towns which rely on the property tax.  The result?  A hastening of Connecticut’s economic death spiral, in which a stagnant economy and ever higher taxes drive out those with the means to flee.

posted by: JohnTulin on February 17, 2017  11:35am

Conservatives should love the idea of increasing the minimum wage - give more peanuts to the workers, and the can hand it right back to the elephants as they buy more crap they don’t need in the first place. It’s ‘trickle-up’ economics!!

posted by: robn on February 17, 2017  2:19pm

The NHI grossly misinterprets the NYTimes article when writing that “a growing consensus” of economists feel that min wage hikes don’t slow hiring. What the article actually says is this, “A growing number of economists have found that many cities and states have considerable room to raise the minimum wage before employers meaningfully cut back on hiring.”

A growing number Is not the same as a growing consensus.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 17, 2017  2:44pm

If anybody want to earn more money - get some skills. Skilled workers make more money. Unskilled workers don’t. It’s that easy.

Secondly - if you want to demand family leave and push minimum wages to $15 - then for god’s sake get rid of the Earned Income Tax Credit - that costs wage earning taxpayers more than $125 million a year - and gives that money to those who pay no taxes. It’s another form of welfare. But don’t demand $15 out of the same taxpayers, you demand $125 million.

posted by: TheMadcap on February 17, 2017  3:23pm

“Think about the 1 percent,” she urged.”

Some actually unironically said this. Shed tears for people who make more in a year than most people make in 10, 20, 30, 40 years.

“and gives that money to those who pay no taxes.

Yes, i too live in the demented conservative reality where only the federal income tax exists. Also part of the argument to implement the EITC was specifically to encourage low wage employment by counteracting other taxes paid looollll

posted by: alphabravocharlie on February 17, 2017  3:45pm

These are the same people who drove the state to the brink of bankruptcy. Now they’re working on businesses.

posted by: wendy1 on February 17, 2017  3:48pm

A living wage is $30/hour.  Read Nickled and Dimed.

If big box commerce and one percenter’s leave—-no loss.  They aren’t doing anything for us now.

It’s amazing that the rich dont expect any pushback from their slave wage policies and bigotry.  We have just begun to fight and remember cops and soldiers also get crap pay——who will they fight for?

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on February 17, 2017  4:31pm

It’s amazing how every other First World country somehow already have good minimum wages, health care, and paid family leave, and yet if we give our unskilled, undeserving, too-many-children-having workers this, IT WILL DESTROY THE ECONOMY.

Someone should let those European countries know how terrible their lives must be with paid sick leave and free health care since they don’t seem to have any idea.

posted by: Wooster Squared on February 17, 2017  5:47pm


Don’t make blind comparisons to Europe. One of the things that’s always missed in these debates is the fact that how you do something is just as important as what you do, sometimes more.

Yes, most European countries have paid family and medical leave. This is a good idea, and one we should embrace. However, most European countries do this through high income taxes and high value-added taxes. What they don’t do, is push these costs directly onto small business through unfunded or underfunded mandates, which is exactly what Looney and friends are proposing in CT. If we want paid medical and family leave and think that it’s the moral and fair thing to do, we should raise taxes on everyone and pay for it, just like they do in Europe.

Instead of having a “do we or don’t we?”, debate regarding medical and family leave, we should be talking about how we accomplish this without hurting small business, which will very much be hurt under the current proposal. Right now, Looney and friends have put a terrible bill on the table and are accusing anyone who points this out of being “anti-worker”. Very few people in New Haven and on this comments section are “anti-worker”, but a lot of us are “anti-bad ideas”.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 17, 2017  5:48pm

Glut of labor leads to lower wages. If 120 people show up for 100 jobs, only the 100 willing to work less will be hired. It is that simple. Minimum wage “solutions are just band-aids - they don’t address the Econ 101 labor over-supply. So they really don’t do much.


What the minimum wage debate seems to be missing … is the dialogue that focuses on benefits as the missing element of compensation rather than higher pay. The minimum wage debate is misdirected – among both the workers demanding higher wages and the politicians struggling to determine the minimum wage. Simply put, the problem is not wages: it’s total compensation – that is, wages and benefits.

Analyst Sarah Millar.

So this $15 an hour minimum wage is snake-oil being sold.

posted by: Brutus2011 on February 17, 2017  7:16pm

Here is how I see this issue:

The more money put in the hands of the consumer, the better.

Consumers drive the economy; not the producers/owners.

Recently, California raised the minimum wage and the small business owners howled.

Until sales rose because worker’s could now afford to buy more products and services

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on February 17, 2017  7:43pm

Westville man, by and large committees are hearing proposed bills that are not yet drafted and are often very general. This is the case with SB 1 (Sen. Looney), which does not, at this point, specify which employees would be subject to the mandate. The current unpaid leave mandate only applies to larger (75+ employee)  employers, and it is a reasonable to assume that that the new mandate would be similar. But this is only an assumption.

A great of information about bills can be be found on the legislature’s website, cga.ct.gov. Among other things, the site provides the bill’s text once it is drafted, written testimony at the hearing, the bill’s status, and vote tallies.

posted by: 1644 on February 17, 2017  8:22pm

1. Minimum wages in the UK and Germany are about the same as the US.  Other European economies are doing horribly, with unemployment over 20% in many, due, at least in part, to uncompetitive wages and regulation.  Refugees are literally dying to escape France an enter England at the Chunnel entrance at Calais.
2. Proponents of universal healthcare need to realize that countries with such systems have some items that are less favorable than the US.  For example, in the UK, treatments are approved based on the number of quality adjusted life years the treatment will gain the patient.  If treatments which cost more than about $45K per perfectly healthy year for are not funded.  In Canada, one may have to wait for non-emergency surgery.  My cousin in Halifax, married to a physician, had to wait 8 months for surgery to repair a torn Achille’s tendon. Meanwhile, his foot flopped around.  Life-threatening? No, but it was annoying.
3. Whatever the moral argument for soaking the 1%, or implementing high broad-based taxes, they won’t work in a small state like CT.  We are already in a downward spiral due to high taxes and debt to support generous public services.  While Wendy may not care about the 1%, they contribute a great deal to public fisc, enough that DRS tracks the top 100 and begs them to stay.  If a Steve Cohen & Ray Diallo were to leave because we tax carried interest as earned income, we would lose more than we gain.  These guys are highly mobile with multiple residences.  As for big box stores, they are dying, but not yet dead.  Until they do die, they provide low-income folks cheap goods and jobs.  Want to buy a quality shirt made in the US with decent wages?  Pay $100 at Press or BB.  Cannot afford that?  Go to Walmart or Kohls and pay $20. (Or pay $100 for a foreign shirt at Gant!)

posted by: 1644 on February 17, 2017  8:46pm

The only country with a minimum wage approaching $15 is Australia, at about $13.  Until recently, the economy had be buoyed by a robust commodities market.  Oz, of course, is the Lucky Country, with ample natural resources and few people to exploit them.  It ensures the few people part with an immigration policy that makes Trump seem kind and welcoming: refugees are interred on an off-shore island for years. Unemployment in Oz is currently just under 6%, while it is 5.7% in the US.

Anderson: One reason employees now favor part-timers is they do not have to provide health care to them under the ACA.  The ACA is a great disincentive to move people to full-time status. (A typical family plan for an employer can cost $20K/ year).

posted by: duncanidaho645 on February 17, 2017  10:43pm

Looney is inadvertently attempting to kill the middle class by forcing them to insure the lower class while the “robber barons” indeed run off with all the money.

Big box stores will survive the minimum wage increase, but will hire more people with part time hours.  All of these people will just barely remain eligible for means tested social welfare programs.  The middle class will bear the cost all of these lackluster ideas because of Connecticut’s regressive income tax structure. 

Fix the tax code or sit down and take a nap old man.  Everytime these fools open their mouths they take money from hard working middle class people and dish it out to people that have accepted that the system is not set up for them to succeed or give bailouts to billion dollar hedge funds.

posted by: Bill Saunders on February 17, 2017  11:01pm


When I first entered the ‘housing market’ in 1987 the ‘rule of thumb’ was that you could afford to spend 1/3 of your monthly income on housing.  In today’s reality, at $28780/yr., that equates to $799/month for a family of five.  For someone at the poverty line, that would work out to $335/month.

Let’s be real, these rents don’t exist in the City of New Haven, and Section 8 will pay much more than that to support families in need, thus the system is internally gamed once again. 

There is something very, very wrong going on here….....
It is an insult to the realities and history of this feisty City we all try to call Home…..

The people that are losing out are the people that wanted to invest here as an actual ‘resident’.
Everybody else has a separate game going, and the profits are good. 

We live in sad times.

posted by: westville man on February 18, 2017  1:29pm

Thanks Kevin. That’s why I asked. The article says “all” employers and I’m wondering if they are going to try to extend beyond what we have now.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 18, 2017  8:05pm

posted by: 1644 on February 17, 2017 7:22pm

2. Proponents of universal healthcare need to realize that countries with such systems have some items that are less favorable than the US.  For example, in the UK, treatments are approved based on the number of quality adjusted life years the treatment will gain the patient.  If treatments which cost more than about $45K per perfectly healthy year for are not funded.  In Canada, one may have to wait for non-emergency surgery.  My cousin in Halifax, married to a physician, had to wait 8 months for surgery to repair a torn Achille’s tendon. Meanwhile, his foot flopped around.  Life-threatening? No, but it was annoying.

I have Family to who live in Canada.They told me there are no waits for urgent or primary care in Canada. There are reasonable waits for most specialists’ care, and much longer waits for elective surgery. Yes, there are those instances where a patient can wait up to a month.But it depends on which provinces you live in.My family also told me that the people of Canada are sick and tired of americans crossing over the border to buy prescription drugs.Americans pay more for medicine.U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead.You talk about long waits.In this country it is a long wait to see a pain management doctor.Yale has a nine month wait to see the pain management doctor.

Part one.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 18, 2017  8:17pm

Part Two

Anderson: One reason employees now favor part-timers is they do not have to provide health care to them under the ACA.  The ACA is a great disincentive to move people to full-time status. (A typical family plan for an employer can cost $20K/ year).

The ACA was based on the Bay State’s successful health care initiative AKA(. Romneycare), the health care system Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts.They still have this today in boston.

If ObamaCare Is So Bad, How Does RomneyCare Survive?


posted by: BevHills730 on February 19, 2017  12:56pm

Noteworthy, you spend an excessive amount of time commenting here each day.  With such luxury it’s not surprising that you are out of touch with people who actually work in this economy.  For the people who really work for a living, $15 an hour is long overdue.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on February 20, 2017  9:03am

Robn, I wouldn’t say this article “grossly misinterprets” the NYT article, although it is inexact. There is a broad consensus in the economic literature that moderate increases in the minimum wage do not lead to substantial disemployment. Moderate increases are typically to levels below 60% of the median wage in the local area. The NYT article notes that many municipalities have adopted such increases without substantial disemployment.

The impact of the minimum wage is a matter of degree. I doubt that anyone believes that raising the minimum wage by 10 cents would have a discernible effect on employment. Raising the minimum wage by $10 an hour almost certainly would.

posted by: robn on February 20, 2017  9:19am


No where in the NYT article does it say or imply that there is a consensus on whether minimum wage hikes do or do not slow hiring. If you’ve got meta studies showing that most economists agree agree upon something related to this subject, please share it with us.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 20, 2017  2:46pm

BevHills -

1. Out of more than 30 articles linked to or on the home page of the NHI, I’ve commented on six. That is not excessive nor do I comment every day. If I commented on every story, and wrote something every single day - what business is it of yours to criticize me for exercising my right to speak out or the frequency with which I do it?

2. Your problem, as it always is for those on the left of any issue - is that you don’t like the message, therefore you don’t like the messenger and feel free to criticize, demonize and otherwise denigrate them as individuals.

3. Your message on that front and as it relates to this issue are poor. People with no skills to offer a company except to show up for work are not worth $31,200 per year. If you want more money earn it through education or real job skills. Do not count on the government to increase your paycheck by legislative mandate from people whose main rationale is more welfare.

posted by: BevHills730 on February 20, 2017  8:11pm

Noteworthy, I’m not criticizing your frequent use of speech here; more power to you.  But, I’m not going to give a lot of weight to your ideas of what people should earn, when it is clear that you don’t have any understanding of the realities faced by people who work in this economy.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 21, 2017  9:54am

BevHills - Once again, you conflate your dislike of my opinion with lack of knowledge on what’s facing families on minimum wage. You know nothing about me and your analysis is incorrect. Hubris is the greatest impediment to understanding the views of others. I’ve worked plenty of minimum wage jobs in my day. Janitor, factory worker, unskilled day laborer; worked third shift at a truss manufacturing plant back when minimum wage was much lower than it is today. I’ve worked 18 and 20 hours a day. I get it. But I also figured out that if I wanted to earn more, I had to have skills; that a minimum hourly wage is not a good life or one that leads to any reasonable level able to sustain myself let alone my family.

I don’t support a $15 min. wage because it codifies that a lack of skills is ok - that government will demand that employers who need folks without skills will just be forced to pay you more and more. It doesn’t provide an incentive for people to create businesses or to grow jobs. In fact, it’s an impediment to it. It’s bad policy rooted in good but ignorant intentions by those who lack the ability to see or craft any solution but more mandates. You’re welcome to discount my views but don’t make the mistake that it’s from lack of knowledge or empathy.

posted by: HughBridgers on February 22, 2017  10:25pm

If the state’s economy is relying on one frozen yoghurt bar that employs 3 people and might go under with a $15 minimum wage…I think we’re screwed.

By the way…15% of New Haven gets Section 8. (about 4,479 families)
Over 28% in New Haven get food stamps. (over $37,000 in a city of $130,000)
{Nationwide it’s about 1%-3% with Section 8, 14% on food stamps}

What happens here in New Haven is sort of beautiful and also troubling…

For every individual receiving some government benefit or private non-profit assistance, that person likely lives with other family, close-family-like-friend or relation who also benefits from assistance in some way.

This works through the fact that, in many instances, there are a number of individuals living together in the same residence and/or sharing what they have/receive, because they are family or close-knit. Through various simple loop-holes, not reporting everyone who lives in a certain house all the time (because they don’t necessarily), by some mothers remaining unmarried…people are able to capitalize on benefits and then redistribute them within their own extended family unit.

In some cases, an individual can get free heating oil for their home…even though unreported wage-earners live with them, at least often. Grandmothers are sometimes able to receive daycare-assistance payments for watching their own grandchildren while the single mother works…even if the father is present, but they are unmarried.

Like I said…there is a very redeeming social beauty to it and a sense of thrifty resourcefulness, but it’s not always so happy on the ground level and it certainly is not in keeping with the intention of government and non-profit assistance. It’s as if NH is one big Walmart, directing staff to welfare.

The main point here is…NO ONE IS MOVING UP OR MOVING ON. People are just more dependent. A minimum wage hike just makes life a little better possibly, but doesn’t stop this cycle, at least in New Haven proper.

posted by: 1644 on February 23, 2017  8:41am

Hugh: Obviously, the yogurt shop owner is symbolic of many similarly situated small business owners, people who are trying to move up. They are ambitious and risk-preferred.  Yes, the state’s fisc is dependent on them to generate the sales, property, and income taxes which fund our schools, our police and fire, Medicaid, etc.  The question, as always,  is how heavy a burden can we place on such people to force them to provide for those whom you describe, those who have little ambition to move up, but are content to depend on others to provide for them and their families.  For decades, and especially under Malloy, we in Connecticut have placed ever heavier burdens on the first group to provide for the latter group.  A high minimum wage is only one, and perhaps the lightest, of these burdens, others being anti-business Unemployment, Workers’ Compensation, CHRO, courts, etc.  which often impose liability on businesses even when statutes would indicate they should not.  The constant inflow of dollars from Yale alumni and Swensen’s investing has cushioned New Haven from much of the downside of these policies.  Their results, however, are clear in the desolate landscapes of Bridgeport and Hartford, and the empty storefronts of towns like Hamden and Branford.

posted by: BevHills730 on February 24, 2017  4:42pm

Sorry Noteworthy, I’m not buying it.  When spending far too much not on non-productive activities, one shouldn’t be critical of the compensation that others might receive for actually doing something productive.  Leave discussions about minimum wage to those who actually work in this economy.