On Monday, Feb. 10, Gov. Phil Scott vetoed S.23, a bill that would have mandated an increase in Vermont’s minimum wage. This mandate would have been on top of increases that already occur annually under current Vermont law.
In his veto message, the governor outlined his primary concerns with a mandated increase:
Fiscal analysis projects job losses, decreases in employee hours, and increased costs of goods and services, which will offset the intended positive benefits for workers.
These harmful impacts will be felt more significantly in rural parts of the state, worsening economic inequity between counties.
There will be an overall negative impact on economic growth.
“It’s critical to recognize that we share the goal of Vermonters making more money. I also believe Vermonters should keep more of what they earn, which is why I can’t support policies that increase the costs of living,” said Scott.
“Despite S.23’s good intentions, the reality is there are too many unintended consequences and we cannot grow the economy or make Vermont more affordable by arbitrarily forcing wage increases. I believe this legislation would end up hurting the very people it aims to help,” he continued.
Scott further emphasized his concerns about the Vermont economy.
“Vermont has one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country – which already increases annually – and yet employers across the state struggle to fill positions,” Scott said. “If the minimum wage was directly correlated to economic prosperity and workforce growth, Vermont would have a stronger economy and a larger workforce than New Hampshire.”