Sometimes it helps to speak the language of the people in power, or at least the people you are speaking to, so let’s make the case for an increased minimum wage and paid family leave using Governor Scott’s own words and logic:
Paid family leave clearly protects the most vulnerable. That’s why people need leave—to care for the vulnerable. An increase in minimum wage does too: people making minimum wage are without cushion and eligible for state benefits even when working full time—more money would “protect” them from the vagaries of life.
These policies also grow the economy. Family leave keeps people in jobs that they would otherwise be forced to leave, stabilizing our workforce and, in turn, growing the economy. Similarly, folks who earn little immediately put their money into the local economy, so any dollar spent to increase wages will be spent—and grow the economy.
And finally, if we do wish to attract new folks to the state, we’re never going to win a “race to the bottom” by lowering taxes or increasing incentives—other states are so far “ahead” of us on that one. However, we can attract new residents by building on our assets: strong communities, strong schools, and strong, supported families. Increased minimum wage and family leave both improve our communities’ livability—one of our top assets, and why so many young people want to move here and raise families.
So, please, pick any one of these issues and call the Governor, ask him to sign these bills into law, thank your legislators for their hard work, and congratulate the advocates at Rights and Democracy VT, Vermont Raise the Wage Coalition, and Vermont Main Street Alliance for a job very well done.