State Representative Tony D’Amelio (R-71) today voted against raising the state’s minimum wage and increasing mandates on struggling Connecticut businesses.

“We need to make sure our business community is healthy before we even consider raising the minimum wage,” Rep. D’Amelio said.  “Businesses across Connecticut are struggling to stay open and placing one more burden on how they operate will cause them to evaluate their options to reduce costs.  Sadly, those reductions will come from a reduction in employees.” 

Recently, Middlebury’s Quassy Amusement Park was featured in a story detailing the negatives associated with this law which will cost them another $150,000 a year in expenses and possibly force them to cut staff to reduce costs.

In 2011 alone, more than 12,000 Connecticut businesses closed their doors according to information from the Secretary of State’s Website.   During testimony on the floor of the House Rep. D’Amelio referenced his own restaurant business and said this past year was one of the most difficult he’s experienced in almost thirty years. 

“As a small business owner myself I know I can only control the cost of labor while I am faced with ever-increasing energy and material costs,” Rep. D’Amelio said.  “I am positive many Connecticut business owners would like to be able to pay their employees more money but they need to stick to tight budgets in order to keep their business competitive.  However, a law like this, no matter how well-intentioned, will have a chilling effect on employment and will force many companies to reduce staff in order to survive.”

Connecticut currently has the fourth highest minimum wage in the country and 65% of businesses in CT say that the cost of doing business is the greatest challenge that they face. Increasing the minimum wage increases the cost of doing business.   Raising the minimum wage also reduces the availability of entry-level jobs which provide on-the-job training and experience and higher minimum wages saw off the bottom rung of many workers’ career ladders.