Renewable Portfolio Standards increase electricity costs more than was previously believed, a comprehensive study by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute has found. Moreover, the study concluded that the costs outweigh the benefits of whatever carbon reduction RPS laws can be credited with producing. 

Measuring both direct and indirect costs, the EPI study concluded that “electricity prices increase substantially after RPS adoption.”

RPS mandates cause electricity rates to rise by 11 percent within seven years and by 17 percent within 12 years, the study concluded. And the largest burden of RPS laws falls on residential ratepayers.

“The estimated increases are largest in the residential sector, but there are economically significant price increases in the commercial and industrial sectors too.” 

Studies of RPS impacts have failed to capture the full cost because they tend to measure only the direct cost of new renewable generation, the authors of the EPI study wrote. Their review included a comprehensive examination of indirect impacts such as transmission and stranded costs.

“A particularly striking finding is that the indirect costs of RPS programs, which have not been possible to comprehensively measure to date, appear to account for the majority of RPS program costs,” the study found.

When all costs are included, the study found that RPS laws are an extremely expensive and inefficient way to reduce carbon emissions.

When the carbon reduction attributable to RPS laws is tallied, “the cost per metric ton of CO2 abated exceeds $130 in all specifications and can range up to $460, making it at least several times larger than conventional estimates of the social cost of carbon,” the study concluded. 

“This study joins a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that when climate policies favor particular technologies or target something other than the real enemy—carbon emissions—the result is less effective and more expensive than is necessary. In contrast, the global experiences from carbon markets and taxes make clear that much less expensive ways to reduce CO2 are available right now,” study co-author Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Policy Institute and former chief economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, said in a statement.

In New Hampshire, Senate Bill 124 would raise the state’s RPS from 25% to 60% by 2040. The study suggests that this would produce significant electricity rate increases because rates have been shown to rise along with the percentage of renewable energy utilities are required to use.

“RPS program passage leads to substantial increases in electricity prices that mirror the program’s increasing stringency over time,” the study found.

Joe Biden kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign in Pittsburgh last week with a speech that contained a serious but overlooked policy proposal to expand economic opportunities for all Americans — one that can draw broad bipartisan support.  

“The major moral obligation of our time is to restore, rebuild and respect the backbone of America: the middle class,” Biden said. “As we rebuild it, we need this rebuilding to be all-inclusive, opening the doors of opportunity for all Americans….”

Few Americans would disagree with that idea. One serious obstacle to a broader expansion of economic opportunity, Biden pointed out, comes from anti-competitive occupational licensing laws. 

After advocating the abolition of non-compete clauses for lower-wage workers, saying they exist only “to suppress wages,” Biden said we should “do the same thing with occupational licenses.”

“Why should someone who braids hair have to get 600 hours of training? It makes no sense. It’s designed to keep the competition down. Look, folks, you can’t just transfer your licenses across one state to another. They’re making it harder and harder in a whole range of professions, all to keep competition down. Why should we get rid of these unnecessary hoops out there? Because we have to restore America’s ability and individual Americans to be able to fight for their own dignity.”

Biden is right on this — as was President Obama before him. 

Anti-competitive occupational licensing regulations reduce economic opportunities and diminish human dignity by forbidding ambitious Americans from working in many fields unless they first obtain permission from the government.

The result is a particularly regressive form of wealth redistribution — from lower-income to higher-income workers. 

“Not only does licensing redistribute earnings from unlicensed to licensed workers; it also shifts the burden of unemployment away from licensed workers,” as the Brookings Institution put it a few years ago.

Occupational licensing also limits mobility, as Biden noted and as a study for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found. If you get a license in one state, but that license isn’t recognized by other states, you’re stuck. Licensing reduces competition in part by restricting worker mobility. 

This is not a fringe issue. A dramatic increase in occupational licensure has occurred since the middle of the last century. In the 1950s, only about 5 percent of occupations in the United States required a license, but by 2006 almost 30 percent did, a 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research study found. 

Because these requirements have been shown to reduce competition and limit economic opportunities for millions of Americans, they have drawn condemnation from across the ideological spectrum.

The libertarian Institute for Justice has produced compelling reports showing the negative effects of occupational licensure, the latest being available here. The Obama administration undertook its own review of occupational licensing laws and in 2015 released a report that called for widespread reform. 

“There is evidence that licensing requirements raise the price of goods and services, restrict employment opportunities, and make it more difficult for workers to take their skills across State lines,” the Obama administration review concluded.

The Obama administration considered occupational licensing barriers so economically harmful to people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder that it began offering federal grants to encourage state-level reductions in licensing laws. 

Matthew Yglesias of Vox noticed at the time that the administration’s push against occupational licensing laws, which are government regulations, after all, was out of synch with liberal orthodoxy. Reducing these regulations might be even more unfashionable now, as “socialism” has grown in popularity among the far left. 

Yet Biden wasn’t afraid to connect these state laws to his broader fight for economic opportunity and human dignity. For Biden to point out the harmful and demeaning effects of some government regulations in his campaign kick-off speech is both noteworthy and praiseworthy.

This is an economic problem that both the left and the right can agree to fix — if leaders of both sides are willing to address it.

Technological innovation has brought solar power to the brink of market competitiveness. It will never be as reliable as a gas or nuclear plant that can run 24/7, but as a supplement it doesn’t have to be. When its price is truly market competitive, individuals and businesses will rush to build their own facilities so they can lower their bills and make money selling power back to the grid. 

We appear to be on the verge of such a transformation, as the price of producing solar power has fallen dramatically in the last half century. By at least some measures, solar generation is already price competitive. And yet the Legislature appears set to pass two simultaneous subsidies that would raise New Hampshire’s already astronomically high electricity rates for the express purpose of creating huge new subsidies for the solar industry (and hydro too).

The first subsidy was passed by the Senate last week. The amended version of House Bill 365 would expand the state’s existing net metering subsidy. Under net metering, utilities are forced by law to pay above-market rates for electricity purchased from small-scale, consumer-owned renewable power generators (think rooftop solar). 

The Senate’s version of HB 365 would allow this net metering “tariff” (read: subsidy) to apply to generators who produce up to 5 megawatts of power. (The current limit is 1 MW.) A 5 MW generator is not a home solar array. That’s large enough to power thousands of homes. Here’s a newly opened 5 MW solar plant in Egypt.)

Supporters say the bill would encourage the creation of new solar facilities. But that isn’t necessary given recent advances in solar technology. That also doesn’t explain why the bill contains a provision to allow existing power plants to convert from wholesale generators to net-metered generators in what can only be a blatant consumer rip-off. 

Most New Hampshire hydropower plants already qualify for net metering under the current 1 MW cap. But some, notably four of the hydro plants Eversource sold to Hull Street Energy last year, generate between 1 and 5 MW. The amended version of HB 365 would allow those facilities to legally reclassify themselves as net-metered generators after they fulfill their existing wholesale contracts. 

Once these hydro plants are reclassified, utilities by law would have to pay them at the default energy rate rather than the wholesale rate. The default rate — about 9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) — is roughly twice the wholesale rate — about 4 cents per kWh. Consumers would be forced by their own elected representatives to pay twice the wholesale price for hydropower generated by existing hydro plants. 

The New England Ratepayers Association estimates that the subsidies in this bill will cost consumers about $10 million a year. But legislators have still another plan to compound the subsidy. 

Senate Bill 124 increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards. The bill would mandate that 18.9 percent of New Hampshire’s power come from new solar generation by 2040. That’s up from 0.5 percent this year. 

The double whammy, then, would work like this: The state by law forces utilities to pay twice the wholesale rate for net-metered solar power, then compels utilities to buy 38 times more solar power. 

Just like that, legislators would create a huge transfer of wealth from Granite State residents and businesses to a politically favored industry. 

Legislators considering these bills should take note of a study published this week by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. It concludes that Renewable Portfolio Standards increase the cost of electricity far beyond the benefit of the carbon reductions they cause. The “cost per metric ton of CO2 abated exceeds $130 in all specifications and ranges up to $460, making it at least several times larger than conventional estimates of the social cost of carbon,” the study concluded.

With a retail electricity rate 60% higher than the national average, New Hampshire should be doing all it can to lower electricity rates. Instead, legislators continue pushing laws designed to raise rates even further.  

House Democrats insisted on incorporating a mandatory paid leave program — and its $168 million wage tax — into the state budget, knowing that this could trigger a veto by Gov. Chris Sununu. It’s a strange hill upon which to die, considering that there’s no evidence Granite Staters are demanding this specific workplace perk. 

This month the UNH Carsey Center for Public Policy released a report asserting that Granite Staters support guaranteed job protection for paid family and medical leave programs and a 60 percent wage rate while on leave. 

This is about as useful to lawmakers as a ping pong table is to the Night’s Watch. It’s nice to have, but when the real work starts its minimal utility quickly becomes apparent.  

Nowhere did the survey ask whether respondents would prefer paid leave to other benefits such as flexible schedules, more health coverage or higher pay. Nowhere did it ask whether employees would prefer paid leave if it led to lower pay raises or reduced benefits in the future. Nowhere did it ask how much employees would be willing to pay for such a benefit. 

The 2016 UNH poll that purported to show broad support for paid family leave in New Hampshire also left out crucial questions. It did not give respondents the option of choosing from a list of other possible workplace benefits. The only cost it included was $5 per week, which is on the low end of the cost scale for various paid leave programs.

Other polls have asked such questions, and their results do not support the theory that paid leave is so critically important for employees that the state must guarantee it via a mandate and wage tax.

  • A 2017 Pew poll found paid leave statistically tied with more flexible work schedules as the most preferred new benefit, with 28 percent preferring schedule flexibility and 27 percent preferring paid leave. (That poll also found, by the way, that most Americans were satisfied with their workplace benefits and thought their employers cared about them and their well-being.) 
  • A 2017 study by data research firm FRACTL found that employees ranked paid parental leave 8th among a list of 17 benefit options. More popular were better health benefits, more flexible hours, more vacation time, work from home options, unlimited vacation, student loan assistance and tuition assistance.
  • A 2017 survey by payroll and benefits firm JustWorks found that flexible schedules and remote work options were far more popular among employees than unlimited paid time off or parental leave. Fewer than half of employees said unlimited paid time off or paid parental leave were important. 
  • A Cato Institute poll last December found that support for paid leave crashes when people are given the option of considering the costs. In the abstract, 74 percent of Americans support paid leave. But 60 percent oppose paid leave if it would lead to lower future pay raises. 

Paid leave is being pushed on Granite Staters as if it is universally acknowledged as the holy grail of workplace benefits. It isn’t. National polling shows that most employees prefer other benefits to paid leave. And even if it were the most popular benefit, that wouldn’t make it the right benefit for every employee or every employer. 

When employers are forced to offer this particular benefit over all others, employees are then forced to accept this particular benefit instead of others employers might have chosen. There is no compelling case for forcing this choice on all New Hampshire employees. Creating a budget showdown over an entirely unwarranted mandatory benefit would only compound the mistake.  

House Bill 365, scheduled for a Thursday vote in the state Senate, would require utility companies to pay above-market rates for solar power, thus forcing consumers to pay higher costs than necessary for electricity, the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy cautions in a statement released today.
Such anti-consumer subsidies for a specific industry are not necessary for New Hampshire to encourage the development of alternative energy production. Solar technologies are approaching cost parity with more traditional forms of energy production and are increasingly able to compete without subsidies.
For example, Connecticut announced in December that it had entered into contracts with nine solar energy providers (including two based in New Hampshire) for an average cost of 4.9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), “which is approaching parity with the market price of energy,” the state’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection pointed out.
HB 365 ignores this trend and would force utilities to buy net-metered solar energy at the default energy rate, which is about 9 cents per kWh. That is more than double the market price of about 4 cents per kWh.
Why would New Hampshire force its own citizens to pay more for solar power than the state of Connecticut is willing to pay?
This forced subsidy runs against the bill’s opening statement, which declares that “New Hampshire’s electricity consumers, including municipalities, manufacturers, commercial businesses, and other large users, strongly support more competitive retail options to lower their energy costs.”
Rather than encouraging alternative energy production that would compete on price, thus lowering energy costs, HB 365 would push prices higher by compelling consumers to buy solar power at above-market rates.
HB 365 represents a wealth transfer from all electricity consumers to net-metered solar energy producers. New Hampshire’s electricity rates are already among the highest in the nation. This bill would make the situation worse, not better — at a time when solar costs are falling and the case for subsidies is falling along with them.

Scientists on Wednesday revealed what they claimed was the first ever photograph taken of a black hole. But this can’t be true because people have been taking pictures of government since the dawn of photography. 

This early photo of the U.S. Capitol was taken in 1846, 70 years before black holes were characterized and 125 years before the first one was discovered.

Black holes famously consume everything within their reach. Government demonstrates a similar appetite.  

Humanity fears the unstoppable power of the black hole. Anything that encounters a black hole is pulled into a dark abyss from which not even light can escape. Slip within one’s reach and doom is certain.

Thankfully, government can only aspire to such inescapable domination. As a creation of man, government can be controlled. But that can be done only by suppressing its natural tendency to expand and consume. 

We do that first by dividing and balancing its power. In this way we turn its power against itself. But that is not enough. We must also control ourselves.

Government will constantly expand as long as we fail to guard against the natural human temptation to increase our own status and authority by enlarging the ravenous, massive force we have created to serve us.   

Resisting this temptation is difficult. Think of all the good a more powerful government might do if only it could be kept in “the right” hands. Giving in to that temptation causes government power to expand, which necessarily causes the power of the governed to shrink. 

It is as The Simpsons explained about black holes in Season 24. 

Sadly, too few people in power take seriously the wisdom passed down by the Founding Fathers — or The Simpsons. 

The day after the release of the black hole photo, the N.H. House of Representatives passed a budget that increases state baseline spending by $382 million and raises taxes and fees by $417 million, as we explained in a report just after news of the black hole photo broke. These are not small, incremental changes. The spending figure is a 14.8 percent increase over fiscal year 2018. 

The House budget aggressively expands the size and power of state government. It’s important to recognize that the House’s disagreement with Governor Chris Sununu is not primarily about services provided. It is about power. 

The best example of this dynamic is the House’s immediate rejection of the governor’s compromise on paid family and medical leave. In the governor’s proposal, that service — a priority of the House majority — could be provided by the private sector through voluntary transactions. There would be no coercion, no tax, no government expansion. The House instantly rejected this option in favor of a mandate, a tax, and an expansion of governmental power. 

The surplus offers another example. The governor had spent the state’s large budget surplus on items that do not fall within the baseline budget. This was to avoid creating obligations on future budgets — obligations that would drive up taxes and expand the size of government. The House instead rolled it into the regular budget, necessitating tax increases.

In sum, the House budget expands both the size and the reach of state government. It enlarges state power and authority in much the same way a black hole grows — by grabbing things that were not previously under its control and absorbing them. When this is the primary motivation of government, all that is just outside of government’s reach ought to be worried.  

 

A new briefing paper from the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy shows that the House’s 2020-2021 budget proposal spends $382.4 million more in state funds than Gov. Chris Sununu’s proposed budget and includes $417.7 million in new taxes and fees. 

The paper shows that the divergence in governing philosophies between the Republican governor and the Democratic House majority could hardly be more stark. 

Sununu’s budget would increase fiscal year 2021 general fund spending by 5.4 percent over fiscal year 2018. The House budget increases spending over the same time period by 14.8 percent.

The tax increases show an equally sharp philosophical divergence. 

Gov. Sununu’s proposed budget contains one expanded tax (extending the tobacco tax to cover electronic cigarettes) and a new fee (a charge on newly allowed sports betting). The House budget also expands the tobacco tax and includes the sports betting fee but also includes hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes to cover the budget’s spending increases.

The House budget includes a sales tax on marijuana transactions ($4 million), business tax increases ($94.1 million), a new capital gains tax ($150 million), and a new wage tax (payroll tax) to fund a compulsory paid family and medical leave program ($168.6 million). 

Without those new taxes, the House budget does not balance. In fact, it also doesn’t balance without the surplus built up over the last two years.

Both Gov. Sununu and the House spend the current state budget surplus. But the governor treats the surplus as one-time revenue attributable primarily to the immediate stimulatory effects of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. He therefore dedicates the money to one-time appropriations rather than recurring spending. 

By contrast, the House treats the money as ongoing revenue and uses it to increase baseline state appropriations. Spending it this way requires future tax increases to sustain the higher level of spending, something the governor sought to avoid. 

The House budget would turn state taxation and spending sharply upward and put it on a rising trajectory into the foreseeable future.  

(A previous post in this space failed to account for a relocation of lottery revenues in the governor’s budget. That failure inaccurately put the House spending figure $584 million above the governor’s.)

A copy of the full report in pdf form is here: Budget Visions 2020-21-4.

 

The financial services website WalletHub this week ranked New Hampshire No. 1 in the nation for return on taxpayer investment (ROI). It’s a fascinating ranking primarily because that’s how taxpayer expenditures ought to be ranked but seldom are.

State political and government rankings often tell us how much a state spends on X or how much it taxes X. Those can be useful in the way that price tags are useful. But tags tell us price, not value. (They also can convey social status, sometimes in unexpected ways.)

Value tends to be a better measure. It gets closer to telling you whether the item or service purchased is worth the price. 

Sure, the truck stop has racks full of $3 action movies and $1 hot dogs. The prices are great! But the odds are pretty low that downing a couple of dollar dogs while watching “The Roller Blade Seven” adds value to your Friday night. You’d probably feel better Saturday morning if you spent a little more than $5 on dinner and a movie.

Likewise, getting Derek Jacobi to put on a one-man Hamlet production in your living room would be amazing. But the price would probably be slightly out of reach. Somewhere between these two options — and much closer to the former — is the sweet spot.

The trick is not just to pay more. It’s to find the right balance between inputs and outcomes. The WalletHub report indicates that New Hampshire does an outstanding job balancing costs and services. 

Our neighbors? Not so much. Maine ranks 22nd, Massachusetts 35th, and Vermont 43rd. To put this in scientific terms: LOL, Vermont.

We would quibble with some of WalletHub’s methodology. Hospitals tend to be private-sector institutions and not greatly reflective of public spending, for example. And the research on pre-school “education” shows overwhelmingly that it doesn’t produce long-term educational advantages for students, so pre-school spending is a bad measure of ROI. But a lot of WalletHub’s measures were sensible. 

Interestingly, WalletHub included school choice as a measure. States with school choice programs scored better than states without, indicating that WalletHub’s analysts see a value in giving students alternatives to traditional public schools — even when public schools are of generally high quality. 

Also interesting is that WalletHub measured public school systems by quality, not by expenditures, which is more typical. New Hampshire ranked 4th nationally in its system, which looked more at outcomes than inputs. Spending was not one of the criteria. 

As legislators have busied themselves raising taxes and spending this session, they’d do better for everyone — taxpayers and recipients of government services — if they updated their approach and focused on outputs, not inputs. 

What really matters is return on investment. By that metric, New Hampshire does quite well — precisely because its historical frugality has forced it to focus on spending dollars more efficiently rather than just spending more dollars. 

The Legislature’s Democratic majority is seizing its opportunity. In control of both legislative chambers for only the fifth time since the Civil War (and one of those times involved a tie in the Senate), they are determined to leave their mark on the state. 

Indeed, businesses are looking at the bills passed so far and saying to themselves, “Son of a…that’s gonna leave a mark!

Having campaigned on raising business taxes and forcing businesses to comply with the party’s agenda, Democrats are delivering for their base. The tax-and-regulate agenda is similar to the one being pursued in another New England state this session: Connecticut. 

There, The Hartford Courant reports, “at the state capitol, businesses find themselves outflanked.”  

The regulatory agenda in Hartford includes a higher minimum wage, paid family leave and higher taxes. This is on top of Connecticut’s already high tax and regulatory burden. (It’s almost as if the party is trying to enact a national political agenda at the state level.)

Whenever New Hampshire economic policies can be likened to those of Connecticut, the public should be concerned. 

The Legislature’s agenda has included these recent moves:

  • After passing business tax increases last week, the House this week approved the Senate’s entirely unnecessary mandatory paid leave bill.  The bill would cost the state $6.6 million a year to run and would extract untold millions from the economy by forcing employers to offer one specific benefit that might not be the best fit for the company or its employees.
  • The Senate this week passed a minimum wage increase after the House passed a similar bill last week. Both bills would raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour (the Senate’s by 2021 and the House’s by 2022). That represents 60 percent increase in labor costs on entry-level employees for businesses that pay the minimum wage.
  • The House on Tuesday passed bills to ban single-use plastic bags and severely limit the ability of restaurants to serve plastic straws. 
  • On Thursday the House passed a series of energy bills that would put upward pressure on electricity rates by eliminating rebates for price increases associated with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and forcing utilities to subsidize large-scale solar and wind projects through net metering. 
  • Another bill would double the fines for water pollution. 

All of these bills reflect a dramatic philosophical shift in the State House. The Legislature is signaling that it no longer trusts individuals or market forces to produce the economic and societal results preferred by its majority. It trusts only one entity — the government. 

Only three months into this legislative session, New Hampshire is seeing just the beginning of an aggressive effort to give Concord more control over the state’s economy and prevent individuals and businesses from behaving in ways that are contrary to the will of lawmakers.

This shift moves us closer to the mindset that prevails in Hartford. Here, in one graph, is why that’s a bad move. Below is the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s chart showing each New England state’s employment growth rate from Nov. 2017-Nov. 2018. New Hampshire leads New England. Connecticut is in the middle. Vermont, by the way, is last. LOL, Vermont.  

To keep New Hampshire’s economy vibrant and growing, the state needs to continue its light-touch approach. Slouching toward Connecticut will pull us backwards.

In the first 10 weeks of the 2019 legislative session, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed nearly $310 million in tax and fee increases and $565 million in new spending, Grant Bosse reported at New Hampshire Journal this week. That’s $31 million worth of tax and fee increases and $56.5 million in new spending per week. 

“The full House voted to increase the state’s two largest business taxes, accounting for most of the increased tax revenue in Fiscal Years 2020-2023. But the House has also passed several other pieces of legislation that increase state revenues or expenditures.  If all the bills given House approval were to be signed into law, taxes and fees would increase by $108 million in the next two years, and by $202 million in the following biennium, according to official estimates from the Legislative Budget Assistant’s Office (LBAO).

“Other new revenues come from a tax on mutual funds to pay for a new state college savings program, an increase in OHRV and snowmobile fines, and more than doubling environment fees.

All that revenue doesn’t come close to covering the $565 million in new spending the House has passed so far.

“Spending would jump by $319 million in FY 20-21, and $246 million in FY 22-23. These figures do not capture the full increase in the state budget. In many cases, lawmakers have only appropriated funds for the first year or two on a new program, and the LBAO does not assume that spending in one budget will necessarily be carried over to the next.”

New minimum wage regulations

In addition to raising taxes, primarily on businesses, the Democratic-controlled legislators have moved forward bills to mandate that businesses pay their lowest-skilled employees above-market wages. 

The House on March 14 passed House Bill 186 to raise the minimum wage by 60 percent, to $12 an hour, over the next three years. 

The Senate on March 14 passed Senate Bill 271 to mandate that contractors hired for public works projects pay at least the “prevailing wage” for construction work. 

Both are minimum wage bills that force employers to pay entry-level employees rates typically paid to more experienced employees. As we noted in a policy brief earlier this week, such minimum wage hikes harm the lowest-skilled workers. 

As a 2015 Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco review of minimum wage literature concluded, “the most credible conclusion is a higher minimum wage results in some job loss for the least-skilled workers—with possibly larger adverse effects than earlier research suggested.”

Though these wage mandates are intended to be a forced wealth transfer from businesses to low-income employees, they wind up transferring wealth and opportunities from the lowest-skilled workers to higher-skilled competitors. 

Why would legislators pass a law to move the lowest rung on the economic ladder farther out of reach for the least-skilled workers? 

Politics is a game of stories, not data. The minimum wage story is easy to tell from the vantage point of supporters. They can produce lots of people who tell lawmakers and the press how hard it is to make ends meet doing low-wage work. 

Though opponents have better data, you can’t go to a fast food restaurant and find the employee who wasn’t hired, then bring him to testify to legislators. The data show clearly that minimum wage increases reduce job opportunities for the lowest-skilled workers. But the people who weren’t hired aren’t told that they might have been hired at $8 an hour but not at $12, so they can’t tell that story.

Business owners and managers are being loaded with new expenses (this doesn’t even include the unnecessary paid family leave mandate) that will extract from them hundreds of millions of dollars. If all of these bills become law, it will be hard to see how the state’s jobs boom is not harmed.