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Tech Industry Opposes Minimum Wage Increase without UI Reforms

Nov 25, 2013Boston Business Journal, Council in the News

By Sara Castellanos
Technology Reporter
Boston Business Journal

The tech industry is largely opposed to the minimum wage increase proposed by the state Senate earlier this month, according to a survey released Monday by the Massachusetts High Technology Council.
According to the survey, 78.5 percent of respondents would be opposed to the bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $8 an hour to $11 an hour by 2016 — unless there were sweeping reforms to the state’s unemployment insurance system as well.

About 68 percent of respondents said they would support an increase in the minimum wage of up to $10 per hour if the unemployment insurance system’s benefits and eligibility requirements were similar to those in other states. Those reforms could include a benefit duration of 26 weeks and a workforce attachment requirement of 20 weeks, according to the Mass High Technology Council.

Reforming the unemployment insurance system would boost hiring among small and medium-sized employers, according to the Mass High Technology Council.

The survey also showed that about 48 percent of respondents think the business climate for the Massachusetts technology industry is holding steady, while about 40 percent think it’s worsening.

About 84 percent of respondents think the state’s cost competitiveness is less competitive than other states.

About 86 percent of respondents said reforming the state’s unemployment insurance system should be pursued as a separate policy instead of raising the minimum wage.

It was unclear how many respondents were surveyed.

Members of the Massachusetts High Technology Council shared the survey findings with House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Monday.

The Senate Bill was referred to the committee on House Ways and Means on Nov. 21, but the House won’t take up the bill until early next year. DeLeo has indicated he would want to tackle unemployment insurance issue when taking up the minimum wage bill.

Increasingly, the Massachusetts High Technology Council is stepping up to create, execute, and lead critical statewide competitiveness strategies. Fostering a vision for our innovation economy under the MassVision2050 banner, the Council solidifies its position as a thought leader providing valuable insights to navigate emerging technologies, facilitates long-term planning, and reinforces the Council's commitment to excellence and action in the evolving Massachusetts tech-driven economy.

To learn more, contact Council President Chris Anderson.