This measure passed.

The gist

This referendum would raise the minimum wage by $1 a year until it gets to $12 in 2020. It will also slowly eliminate the tip credit, which tip earning employers pay to make up the difference between wages plus tips and the minimum wage for minimum wage works.

Ballot question

“Do you want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50 to $9 in 2017, with annual $1 increases up to $12 in 2020, and annual cost-of-living increases thereafter; and do you want to raise the direct wage for service workers who receive tips from half the minimum wage to $5 in 2017, with annual $1 increases until it reaches the adjusted minimum wage?”1

Yes means No means
I am in favor of raising the minimum wage. I want to keep the minimum wage as is.

Tell me more

This bill would raise the minimum wage from $7.50 by $1 per year until it gets to $12 per hour in 2020 and have annual increases to match the cost of living after that. The wage for service workers who receive tips would also increase by $1 per year until it reaches the new minimum wage.

Follow the money

Annual Costs (2017 - 2020): $16,5001

Note: The costs don’t include the cost to increase state worker wages as part of increasing the minimum wage.

The money will be used to:

  • Print and mail posters and publications
  • Compliance, education, and outreach

The money will be coming from:

  • General Fund appropriation


The primary arguments for this referendum are:

  • Increasing the minimum wage helps workers make ends meet
  • Workers with more money to spend helps the local economy
  • Could help those on government assistance get off of assistance
  • The gradual increase will make the blow to businesses less drastic than a single, larger increase.2


The primary arguments against this referendum are:

  • Increases the cost of doing business
  • Might discourage businesses from relocating to Maine
  • Adjusts with inflation when the Consumer Price Index goes up, but not when it goes down
  • The changes to the tip credit could negatively affect the wages of servers who already make more than the new minimum wage.
  • A living wage at the current cost of living in Maine would be $15 and this starts at $9 and only goes up to $12.2

Further reading

Full Text
Ballotpedia Article
Maine PBN Maine Calling Debate: Audio (52:53) | Video (49:45)


  1. Dunlop, M. Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election. Accessed October 7, 2016.  2

  2. Maine PBN. Debate: Ballot Question 4. Maine Calling. Accessed November 7, 2016.  2