SEIU/CSEA Legislative Action Co-Chair
Low pay puts a drag on Connecticut’s economy. At large retail chains such as McDonalds workers make $9.15 an hour – roughly $16,000 a year before taxes. Wages this low make them eligible for food stamps, medicaid and state funded health care. Meanwhile the CEO to worker pay ratio in the fast food industry exceeds 1000 to 1. In effect our taxes are subsidizing the outrageous compensation of those at the top.
Corporate profits have never been so good as they are today, but gains have not been shared with employees. Lower paid workers actually have less buying power today than they did 30 years ago. Wages for middle income families have barely risen above inflation. Something needs to be done to shrink the gap between the obscene income of those at the top and the meager wages of those at the front lines. Its about fairness, morality and making Connecticut’s economy work for everyone.
Once again we are faced with a state budget deficit but it is not hard to understand why. Corporate taxes once accounted for 25% of state revenues, but now cover less than 7% due to tax loopholes. Highly profitable retail chains have also been keeping tax revenue away from the state indirectly, by keeping employee wages flat. These obstructions keep both the state government and resident wage earners without sufficient spending money to expand Connecticut’s economy.
Corporate lobbyists claim that if workers’ wages are raised jobs will be lost. The reality is that unless workers’ pay is raised, there will be no reason to hire.