Bill passes to raise minimum wage in CT to $10.10 an hour

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will waste no time in signing a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 in stages. He will sign the legislation — passed by the state Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday — at a Thursday event in New Britain.

“I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of national importance,” Malloy said.

The governor had proposed the bill earlier this year. The state’s current minimum wage is $8.70 an hour, and it now will increase over the coming years to become $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017. That will be the highest minimum wage in the nation.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, having last increased in 2009.

Obama praises state’s action

President Barack Obama weighed in on the action by the state legislature in Connecticut.

“I hope members of Congress, governors, state legislators and business leaders across our country will follow Connecticut’s lead to help ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty, and that every American who works hard has the chance to get ahead,” Obama said in statement issued Wednesday evening.

Malloy said increasing the minimum wage is good for business as well as workers.

“This modest increase will give working families a boost, and it will contribute to our economy by getting just a little more money into the pockets of people who will spend it in their communities,” Malloy said.

Obama: ‘An important step’

In his statement, Obama said Connecticut’s legislature “took an important step towards raising the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and giving more Connecticut workers the raise they deserve.”

Obama visited Connecticut in early March to push for a higher minimum wage, speaking at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. Malloy will sign the bill at the New Britain restaurant where he and Obama had lunch during the presidential visit.

The president said he supports efforts by leaders in states, counties and cities across the country to raise the local minimum wage, but he will continue to push for similar action on the federal level. Obama said “to truly make sure our economy rewards the hard work of every American, Congress must act.”

Obama has been pushing for a federally-required $10.10 minimum wage.

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. It had been scheduled to increase to $9 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015, but now will go to $9.15 on that day, then increase to $9.60 on Jan. 1, 2016, and finally to $10.10 effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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.

The new law means that an employee working 40 hours per week would earn $21,008 per year, beginning in 2017. Currently, the federal poverty guideline for a family of four is $23,850.