Maine Restaurant Featured in Minimum Wage Video Highlighting Consequences of $12 Proposal

Extreme 220 percent increase for tipped employees will destroy business and jobs across the state
  • Publication Date: October 2016

Washington D.C. – Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released a new video featuring DiMillo’s on the Water in Portland, ME. Owner Steve DiMillo explains that he supports a responsible increase in the minimum wage, but warns that a proposed 220 percent increase in the special tipped wage threatens his employees and the future of his family’s restaurant.

View the video here:

DiMillo explains that his tipped staff already earn as much as $35 an hour between their tip income and base pay. The minimum wage proposal would force the restaurant to give its already-high earning employees a raise, costing the restaurant over $600k a year. Raising prices isn’t an option; as DiMillo puts it, “there’s a limit to how much people want to pay for a bowl of chowder and a beer.”

Instead, employees will suffer, as the restaurant is forced to consider alternate business models with less opportunity for high pay. DiMillo notes that, for this reason, his employees also oppose the proposed wage hike.

The video highlights how the minimum wage increase  is being funded by out-of-state donors who, in DiMillo’s words, “don’t understand the Maine people, the Maine way of life.” An analysis of recent campaign finance data from the Maine Ethics Commission shows that the political action committee (PAC) supporting the increase  has received at least 75 percent of its contributions from out-of-state donors  including national labor unions, labor-funded PACs, and union aligned advocacy groups.

See the donor data here. Download the entire Maine Ethics Commission funding database here.

Earlier this year, EPI released an analysis by Drs. David Macpherson of Trinity University and William Even of Miami University which found that at least 3,800 jobs would be lost in the state at $12, the majority of which would come from small businesses.

Read the analysis here. Read EPI’s op-ed in the Portland Press-Herald discussing the analysis here.

“Maine’s proposed 220 percent increase for already-well paid tipped employees is a solution in search of a problem,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at EPI. “Forcing restaurants like DiMillo’s and hundreds of others across the state to absorb an extreme pay hike will destroy jobs, destroy small businesses, and move us closer to a self-service economy.

For more information, visit To schedule an interview, contact Jordan Bruneau at (202) 463-7650 or

The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. In particular, EPI focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment. EPI receives support from restaurants, foundations, and individuals.