Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

Argument Against I-151  

  • Read the fine print – I-151 is an ANNUAL price increase.

The dollar per hour increase is nothing but a Trojan Horse that hides the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase. While focusing on the initial $1 per hour hike, proponents have slipped in an annual inflation factor that will cripple small businesses. And if double-digit inflation returns, that means double-digit labor increases – every year.

  • Big city prices for Montana’s rural small businesses.

The CPI is calculated using prices from 87 of America’s biggest cities – not a single one of them in Montana! Nor are there any in three of our neighboring states. So, when the price of a latté increases in New York and Los Angeles, labor costs will go up in Eureka and Ekalaka. I-151 puts us at the mercy of out-of-state shopping trends.

  • I-151 leaves small businesses vulnerable.

The unpredictable nature of the CPI increase seizes economic control from small business. Since wages are the largest expense in most businesses, any price increase has a significant impact. It is essential that small business owners set wages and raises based on merit, education/training, productivity, and other factors, not a volatile government mandate.

  • I-151 is mandated inflation.

W hen faced with automatic pay hikes, business owners will be forced to increase prices every year. Simple economics require that costs, on a whole range of goods and services, will be passed on to consumers whenever possible. This will create a spiral of inflation, driving up costs. Montanans, especially retirees and those on fixed incomes, will pay a heavy price.

  • I-151 takes a bad idea and makes it worse.

Government-mandated wage increases are a bad idea in the first place. Everyone would like to see people earning more money. But nearly four out of five Montanans feel increasing business activity and providing better education and training are better ways to raise wage levels, rather than increasing the minimum wage. The last few years, we’ve seen how the market reacts to an improved economy around Montana – higher wage levels for workers. And according to the latest government statistics, Montana has only about 5,000 employees classified as making entry-level or minimum wage. Many of those are restaurant workers not counting tip income. Others are new to the workforce and quickly move on to higher wages after proving their value.

  • I-151 is BAD for Montana.

It’s a sneaky way to force an annual price increase based on out-of-state, big city prices. It leaves small businesses vulnerable and mandates unlimited inflation on Montana consumers. And it compounds a bad method of increasing wages.

Read the fine print – and vote NO on I-151!

The PROPONENT argument and rebuttal for this measure were prepared by Tim Kennedy - Small Business Owner - Mom’s Famous Soup and Salad; Jacquie Helt - President, Montana State AFL-CIO and Executive Officer UNITE HERE ! Local 427; and Steve Bullock, Director, Raise Montana.

 The OPPONENT argument and rebuttal for this measure were prepared by Riley Johnson, Brad Griffin, Merisa Saunders, and Webb Brown.

Proponents' Rebuttal

  • Read the fine print – I-151 is an ANNUAL price increase. FALSE

No fine print….I-151 is one paragraph long and adds a fair and predictable standard based on what businesses charges consumers. If the price of bread and milk increase, shouldn’t the salaries of hard-working minimum wage earners increase, too?

  • Big city prices for Montana’s rural small businesses. FALSE

The CPI is the fairest of yardsticks and is universally accepted …in Montana. It is used to set governmental salaries, adjust taxes and retirement, even increase how much these lobbyists arguing against I-151 can spend on influencing legislation before making it public!

  • I-151 leaves small businesses vulnerable. FALSE

I-151 makes labor costs predictable. Like all of us, businesses need the ability to plan and prepare for change. The CPI takes politicians out of setting the minimum wage, replacing them with an established market calculation.

  • I-151 is mandated inflation. FALSE

Businesses raise prices. You think a hamburger today costs the same as in 1997, the last time the minimum wage was increased? Are the dues the Chamber of Commerce charges businesses the same today as they were then? Hardly.

Prices increase naturally over time. So do salaries. The minimum wage earner hasn’t had a pay increase in 10 years, yet must pay higher prices. That’s not right.

  • I-151 is BAD for Montana. FALSE

I-151 is good for Montana . 20+ states have already increased their minimum wage, and their state’s businesses have not been hurt. Neither will ours.