As businesses with a long-term interest in the economic health of our community, we want to share some of our views of Measure R, on this Novembers' ballot. (See this week's cover story, page 14.)
We are committed to our employees and staff, and understand the reasons why a higher minimum wage is important. The intentions of this measure are good but how it is implemented has many shortcomings to create a healthy and prosperous community.
This measure affects all businesses with 25 or more employees, not just large corporate companies but also our local and family-run businesses in Humboldt County. This will create unequal pay for the same job depending on the size of the business or location within Humboldt County.
Measure R mandates a 33 percent increase in minimum wage, 90 days after being certified. Seattle, which has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, has it phased in over seven years. This allows both the businesses and the customers to adapt to the changes more smoothly. The consequences include a dramatic increase in the cost of products and services, as well as small businesses moving out of Eureka, causing job loss and higher prices. This will harm those on fixed incomes the most.
By targeting Eureka businesses, Measure R has a stifling effect on the city's economy. A ballot measure which takes in the greater Humboldt region would be better for growing local wages and a more prosperous local community.
The choice is yours. What do you think is the best way to benefit the local economy and create a healthy, prosperous community? We need to work together as a county to create a living minimum wage for all of Humboldt County.
Dennis Rael, Los Bagels
Bagel Bakery and Café and Berit Meyer, Ramone's
Bakery & Café
Every time it is proposed that the minimum wage is raised we hear voices loudly proclaiming that it will be economic disaster. Since the minimum wage was enacted it has been raised many times. Each time the minimum wage went up it was followed by increased economic activity. Raising the minimum wage has never been followed by mass layoffs or decreased economic activity. Thirty years of "trickle down economics," offshore tax hideouts and tax cuts for the wealthy have done those things to America. Not any increase in the minimum wage.
Raise the minimum wage and you increase individual income, removing many working class poor people from government assistance. They are no longer eligible because of their increased income and they have more income to spend on something other than basics like food and gas, which increases economic activity. Increasing the minimum wage is the only real way to cut spending on social programs. If you do not want taxpayer dollars paying for someone's healthcare, then raise the minimum wage so working class poor can afford it. Are these things bad for America? No.
An increase in the minimum wage is not a threat to small businesses either. The real threat to small business is large corporations using their money and influence to limit competition.
An increase in the minimum wage is a good thing for workers and for business large and small.
Todd Heiler, Ferndale
Eureka voters have a unique opportunity to give themselves and our community a raise by voting yes on R. A higher minimum wage helps pull hardworking families off public assistance and, studies show, improves sales at local businesses.
Simple: Give families a raise and they spend it in the stores near their homes. Measure R keeps predatory employers out of our community. As a community, we have standards and respect our local workers. Only large businesses — 25 or more employees — are affected. I suspect the total number of affected businesses make up less than 5 percent of our local private businesses; the exact numbers are known by city and chamber of commerce officials, and this paper should require them to disclose the actual numbers prior to the election so voters can make an informed decision based on facts, instead of opponents' current shameful attempts to scare the elderly.
Sarah Isbell, Eureka