It's a new year, and with that can come a bump in wages, especially if you live in Maine.

Effective January 1, 2024, Maine's minimum wage jumps from  $13.80 to $14.15, which is a 2.5% raise for most.  In Portland, the minimum wage jumps a whole dollar, increasing from $14 per hour to $15, which is nearly a 7% increase.

Last year, Massachusetts bumped the minimum hourly wage to $15, with Rhode Island at $14, and Vermont just hiking the minimum wage to $13.67.

New Hampshire, meanwhile, lags far behind the rest of New England, with a minimum wage stuck at $7.25 for the past 15 years.  Any year they try to raise it, legislature shoots it down. The Governor vetoed the bill in 2019.  $7.25 is the same as the national hourly wage.

alexander gray via
alexander gray via

There's an argument for both sides of the debate.  New Hampshire thinks differently than other New England states, so while the minimum wage is increasing all around us, the premise is that everyone up the chain will make more, thus forcing the increase in product prices, so it will all end up the same. Residents will make more, but goods will cost more.

Other New England states don't have a problem with that, because everything has increased in cost no matter what the minimum wage is.

The fact is New Hampshire is not the only state with a federal minimum wage, but it is the lowest in New England and most of the Northeast. So how does New Hampshire compete for employees when Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont are far ahead of the hourly rate?

This will be a debate that goes on into 2025 and beyond.

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