Gov. Dannel P. Malloy plans to introduce legislation during the upcoming regular session of the General Assembly that would increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, mirroring recent national efforts by President Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to that same amount.
The increase would give Connecticut the highest minimum wage in the nation.
“There is a debate happening across our country on how to tackle the growing income inequality that is detrimental to our middle-class families and to our economy,” said Malloy, a first-term Democrat.
“Part of tackling that critically important challenge is making sure that we recognize that a good and decent wage is good for workers and good for business,” said Malloy, who announced the proposal at a Tuesday news conference in Bridgeport.
Went up to $8.70 an hour last month
The minimum wage in Connecticut now is $8.70 per hour, having increased from $8.25 on Jan. 1. The legislation authorizing that increase also includes another hike on Jan. 1, 2015 — from $8.70 to $9 an hour.
Malloy’s new proposal calls for a slight modification of next year’s increase, bringing it to $9.15 on Jan. 1, 2015. The proposal then would add a 45-cent increase to $9.60 beginning Jan. 1, 2016, followed by a 50-cent increase to $10.10 effective Jan. 1, 2017.
Could impact up to 90,000 in CT
Out of Connecticut’s workforce of 1.7 million people, it is estimated there are currently 70,000 to 90,000 workers who earn the minimum wage.
Malloy’s proposal means that an employee working 40 hours per week would earn $21,008 per year. Currently, the federal poverty guideline for a family of four is $23,850.
“For too long, the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living,” Malloy said. “As studies have shown, the workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase brought home 46% of their household’s total wage and salary income in 2011.”
Says will be a plus for businesses
Malloy said increasing the minimum wage would be good for low-wage workers, businesses and the overall economy.
“When workers earn more money, businesses will have more customers,” he said. “This modest boost will help those earning the least to make ends meet.”
The proposal will be included in the governor’s legislative package for the upcoming 2014 regular session of the General Assembly, which begins Feb. 5.