Email to SB: $15/hr Minimum Wage

Resent-From: <selectboard@amherstma.gov> From: Matthew Cunningham-Cook <m.cunninghamcook@gmail.

com> Date: March 17, 2014 3:46:30 PM EDT To: <selectboard@amherstma.gov> Subject: Comment

Hi all, I won't be able to make it tonight due to an unforeseen illness. Other representatives from SLAP are not available due to Spring Break (it is worth noting that UMass requires that students move out for break.) First of all, we will be including in the motion a proposal to exempt employers with less than 50 employees-- and we are open to compromise in other areas as well.! We only have a few points to make in response to the Finance Committee report. 1) The Finance Committee argues that potential gains from a minimum wage increase are "speculative"-- this despite substantial evidence to the contrary, in particular from work done by Amherst's own Political Economy Research Institute. 2) In contrast, the Finance Committee takes at face value the claim that small businesses will be forced to close if the original warrant passes the legislature and a universal $15/hout minimum wage. The point here is largely irrelevant because nearly all businesses will be exempt from the proposed motion, but it is interesting that in an academic town the Finance Committee declined to provide any peer-reviewed academic evidence to support such a contention. In reality, there is not a single piece of evidence to indicate that any minimum wage increase ever anywhere has lead to small business closures--unlike, say, the escalating cost of commercial rent.! 3) The Finance Committee expressed its concern of the effects of Prop 2 1/2 override on low income residents. Their concerns ring hollow, as if this proposed warrant were passed the amount of low-income residents in Town would be drastically reduced. The Town's poverty levels are at the crisis point. We strongly encourage the Select Board to recommend this motion or provide a reasonable counterproposal than reject it outright.! Thank you so much for your time. Best, Matthew -Matthew Cunningham-Cook m.cunninghamcook@gmail.com (802) 275-8863

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