Minimum wage to $15/hr would cost add $220K to town budget for employees!
Current minimum wage in Mass is $8/hr (proposed to go up $11 by 2016)
Saying pretty much the town of Amherst should not go it alone, the Finance Committee, trusted advisers to Amherst Town Meeting, voted 5-0 last night to oppose the only article on the March 19 Special Town Meeting warrant which would allow Amherst to raise the minimum wage from $8/hr to $15/hr.
When Town Meeting votes down the article, labor activist Matthew Cunningham-Cook has threatened to obtain the 880 registered voters signatures required to place the question on a town general election ballot to overturn the Town Meeting vote.
That would then require an insurmountable 18% of the current 17,596 registered voters (3,167) to agree to overturn Town Meeting and approve the measure, otherwise the endeavor fails.
Since a stand alone election costs the taxpayers $12,000, I will make a "Motion to Dismiss" the article on March 19 and when that passes (by simple majority vote) there is nothing an election can do to change the outcome.
Although I did offer Matthew Cunningham-Cook, who moved to Amherst less than six months ago to join SLAP -- the Student Labor Action Project at UMass -- a deal: If he and his group submit a check to the town for $12,000 I will stand down with my motion.
And if the article miraculously passes, so no election will be called, I would simply give them back their money.
It's one thing when a grade school teacher suggests school children write a Letter To The Editor as a civic exercise, since that doesn't cost taxpayers a dime. It's quite another when an academic project will cost taxpayers $12,000 and a large group of volunteer citizens an entire night stuck in the Middle School Auditorium.
Let's hope Town Meeting passes my motion, and slaps down SLAP.