Portland, Maine, Businesses Rally Against a $15 Minimum Wage

On the eve of Election Day, a coalition of small business owners in Portland, Maine are speaking out against a ballot question that would raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The group "No on 1: Too Far, Too Fast" held a press conference outside Monday to urge Portland residents to vote against the measure.

"We're not millionaires," said Lance Meader, owner of Rivarlries Sports Bar. "We can't afford these huge labor costs."

Scott Rousseau, owner of Portland Play it Again Sports said such a large increase in the minimum wage would create an increase of about $111,000 annually.

"No small business can deal with that increase," siad Rosseau.

The group Portlanders for a Living Wage wrote the referendum question.

"We need a fair wage," said Mako Bates. "We need it as soon as possible."

Bates points to other cities that have raised the wage just as high, such as San Francisco or Seattle.

"The negative impacts are not measurable," said Bates, adding that employees will be able to contribute more to the local economy.

But the No on 1 campaign argues that Portland's economy cannot be compared to cities the size of Seattle -- and they worry businesses will raise prices, cut jobs, or leave Portland if Question 1 passes.

"The economy of our city is small business," said Rosseau. "It's the heart beat of our city."

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