Conservative-minded groups like chambers of commerce or the Republican Party love trotting out their “the-sky-is-falling!” rhetoric whenever minimum wage increases are proposed. The tired refrain is that businesses don’t want these increases and implementing them will kill jobs.
Now, leaked documents from the nation’s leading Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, have turned those clichés upside down.
A huge majority of businesses executives actually support minimum wage increases and other pro-worker policies like paid family leave.
The Washington Post has a story today about a leaked survey of 1,000 business executives, conducted by Luntz, showing 80% for minimum wage increases with only 8% in opposition.
“That’s where it’s undeniable that they support the increase,” LuntzGlobal managing director David Merritt told state chamber executives…noting that it squares with other polling they’ve done. “And this is universal. If you’re fighting against a minimum wage increase, you’re fighting an uphill battle, because most Americans, even most Republicans, are okay with raising the minimum wage.”
This is huge.
But, as the article points out, there’s disconnection here: While business owners and executives support wage increases, state chambers of commerce continue blanket opposition.
We’ve seen this in New Mexico with organizations like the ABQ Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Commerce and Industry, and the NM Business Coalition continually opposing pro-worker policies even though the majority of people support such policies.
Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces have all raised their city’s minimum wages in recent years with overwhelming support from the public.
However, some politicians – like ABQ Mayor Richard Berry, Sen. Mark Moores (R-ABQ), Rep. Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho), and Rep. Nate Gentry – have worked actively trying to undo those increases.
And it’s not just minimum wage increases, paid family leave policies have huge support among the business community – 73% of respondents in Luntz’s survey support more paid sick leave.
This tracks with New Mexico too – a poll in Albuquerque last year showed 86% support for allowing employees to earn up to seven earned sick days a year.
Luntz’s firm proposed some pro-worker policy alternatives to raising the minimum wage that might sit better with conservatives, like increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families.
When a state-level version of that bill was proposed by Rep. Bill McCamley during this year’s legislature, how did it fare? Oh yea, every Republican voted against it…