President Bush signed into law a SEMA-supported measure that balances a minimum wage hike with $4.8 billion in small-business tax breaks. The wage will increase to $7.25 per hour over two years in three $.70 increments. The wage will rise to from $5.15 to $5.85 on July 24, 2007, followed by yearly increases to $6.55 and $7.25.
The tax-relief package increases the tax code’s annual expensing limits to $125,000 through 2008. The current limit is $112,000. Other provisions include incentives to hire disabled veterans and welfare workers.
While the federal wage has not been raised in a decade, at least 29 states and many local jurisdictions already have minimum-wage rates that are higher than the federal standard. For example, the current wage in California is $7.50 and will increase to $8.00 in 2008. SEMA supports polices that allow wages to be set by the marketplace and contends that a minimum-wage hike filters up the pay chain and hurts small businesses. In this instance, however, SEMA believes the federal legislation strikes a balance between a wage hike and targeted tax relief for small businesses. For further information, contact Stuart Gosswein at firstname.lastname@example.org.