PROVIDENCE, March 13, 2019 — Responding to today’s Senate Labor Committee hearing on a proposal to increase the state minimum wage, NFIB, which advocates on behalf of many Rhode Island small businesses, submitted testimony in opposition to that legislation. The following statements are attributable to NFIB Rhode Island State Director, Christopher Carlozzi:

“The last minimum wage increase just took effect and another hike is already being proposed,” said Christopher Carlozzi, NFIB’s Rhode Island State Director. “If passed, this will mean a massive 39 percent increase in the minimum wage since 2016, something Rhode Island small businesses cannot afford.”

“Small business owners in Rhode Island already face high energy costs, double-digit health care premium increases, and a new mandatory paid sick leave law. Adding additional labor costs will only lead to reductions in hours, staff and economic activity. That hurts the employees this proposal is intended to help.

Studies have shown that areas of the country with minimum wage increases saw reduced hours, and job losses, leaving fewer opportunities for inexperienced and younger workers. Rhode Island’s experience will be no different. NFIB is strongly opposed to yet another increase in the state minimum wage on Rhode Island small businesses who struggle to keep their doors open amid ever-increasing labor costs.”