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Chamber Slams Late Night Legislative Minimum Wage Hike

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The state’s leading organization representing Delaware businesses is crying foul over a midnight vote to raise the minimum wage on the last night of the legislative session.

The 3:30 am Sunday action by the House of Representatives will increase the state minimum wage by $.50 twice in the next year, in January and October 2019.

The new Delaware State Chamber president decried the action, saying the swift early-morning action came without warning or any time for debate and would hurt its members.

“It’s unfortunate that businesses will have to decide how to cut additional costs to pay for this added payroll expense,” said Michael Quaranta.

The Chamber called the House vote “a dramatic departure from the usual process,” saying it inappropriately used a process normally reserved for non-controversial bills.

In a statement, the Chamber said it was disappointed with the Legislature’s move after having worked throughout the year to educate legislators on the negative impacts of raising the minimum wage and sharing “numerous studies showing how it negatively impacts the employees they are trying to help.”

The Chamber did endorse a second bill to provide alternative wages for training and for teens, but also expressed concern the legislation moved during “the wee hours of the morning.”

“It is imperative that people working full time for minimum wage add to their education and outfit themselves with skills that meet workforce needs in order to improve their personal or family situation,” said Quaranta.

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