Workers coalition pushes for $15 minimum wage and surtax on millionaires

The bill calls for gradual wage increases to give employers time to adjust

BOSTON (WWLP) – The statewide minimum wage went up at the start of the year by $1 to $11 an hour. Many fast food, retail and other low wage workers are still struggling to get by, according to Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Noah Berger.

He said, “Currently if you’re working full time at the minimum wage, you make about $22,000 a year, and if you think about anybody who’s trying to make ends meet, that’s not a lot of money.”

The coalition “Raise Up Massachusetts” hopes to raise the minimum wage again, this time to $15 an hour. Under the bill, the increases would be gradual to give employers time to adjust. Businesses, large and small, have been reluctant to support another minimum wage increase, arguing that it would lead to higher prices for customers.

“Raise Up Massachusetts” is also backing a constitutional amendment to create a 4-percent tax on incomes above $1 million. Revenues from the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax” would be spend on education and transportation.

“In Western Mass, in the Pioneer Valley, we see people who really can’t get to school, can’t get to work, cannot live their full lives because of inadequate transportation,” said Josh Ostroff of “Transportation for Massachusetts”.

The “Millionaire’s Tax,” also known as the fair share amendment could go before voters on the 2018 ballot.