Happy New Year! You now have to be 21 years old to buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products statewide, and minimum wage in Massachusetts is now $12 an hour. The highly debated $15 an hour rate won't take effect until 2023 according to mass.gov.

If you're a tipped employee, your minimum wage is now $4.35 an hour. The federal minimum wage is still only $7.25 an hour, a law enacted in July of 2009. I guess it's all relative to the cost of living in your state!

Although a $15 an hour minimum wage sounds like a good idea relative to rising costs of living, small business owners would beg to differ. I have spoken to many local business owners who say that even by 2023, that rate would be unsustainable.

My first real job, not counting my paper route, was making pizza for a local mom and pop back in the fall of 1995. I was paid $5.15 an hour and was not allowed to work past seven o'clock in the evening. I spent most of my paychecks on CDs. (It was the '90s)!

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