Senator Patrick’s bill aims to highlight income inequality in Maine
AUGUSTA – Today, a measure that will shine light on income inequality between executive and worker pay received support during a public hearing in the state’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development committee.
“There’s nothing wrong with an executive making more than the average worker,” said Senator John Patrick of Rumford, the sponsor of the measure. “The problem is that over the last 35 years, CEO pay has risen nearly 100 times faster than workers. At the very least, Maine workers deserve some transparency when it comes to this injustice.”
In a 2014 study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, researchers found that average Americans, whether or not they believe executive compensation is too high, believe that the ratio of executive pay to unskilled worker pay should be less than 7:1. In reality, the ratio is 354:1. The average CEO in Maine earns more than $2 million whereas the average Maine worker makes $37,000, making the ratio in Maine 69:1.
Senator Patrick added, “Working people are the backbone of our economy. Everyday 700,000 Maine people get up, go to work, and keep our state running. They make our state a great place to live. Yet, everywhere I go in my district people feel squeezed in this economy.”
According to the Economic Policy Institute, between 1978-2013, CEO compensation has increased nearly one thousand percent, while the typical worker has seen their wages rise by only about ten percent in the same timeframe.
During the public hearing, Matt Schlobohm, Director of the Maine AFL-CIO spoke in support of the bill. In his testimony, Schlobohm highlighted income inequality as a defining problem of our time and urged the Committee to support this bill as an integral step in its solution.
“The biggest issue I hear over and over again is that people’s incomes are not keeping up with the cost of living. I want Maine to be a state of opportunity, where hard work and playing by the rules provide working families a good life.”
The Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee will hold a work session on LD 1015 “An Act To Require Large Employers To Report Compensation Information” later in the session