Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Monday touted the first of two scheduled increases in the state’s minimum wage, which takes effect Wednesday, when the state’s minimum wage increases from $8.25 to $8.70 per hour. This will be followed by second increase on January 1, 2015 to $9.00.
“This gradual increase over two years is a balanced approach to helping hard working men and women without adversely impacting the business community,” Governor Malloy said. “Studies have shown that increasing the minimum wage is one of the best ways to get children out of poverty. This modest increase is money that will be put back into our economy and help residents to make ends meet.”
Out of Connecticut’s workforce of 1.7 million people, it is estimated that there are currently 70,000 to 90,000 workers who earn the minimum wage. Under the current rate of $8.25 an hour, an employee working 40 hours a week earns $17,160 per year, which Senate President Donald E. William’s, Jr. noted is $1,200 beneath the federal poverty level.
“As the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the average employee increases, paying workers a fair minimum wage will help them keep food on their table and provide for their families,” Williams (D-Brooklyn) said. “Raising the minimum wage is an investment in our workforce and a much needed boost for hard-working men and women.”
No Republican members of the Connecticut General Assembly voted in favor of the increase.
“Money should be going towards more job training so people can get into the workforce into high paying jobs, jobs that can feed a family,” said State Representative Pamela Sawyer (R-Bolton).
And, many business owners say the minimum wage increase, while earning full-time minimum wage workers an additional $18 per week, will mean higher costs for consumers.
“The last thing that we want to do is increase menu prices, but it’s just that we keep being forced to pay these bills, including higher food costs, insurance and now minimum wage,” noted John Paindiris, Owner of Effie’s Place Family Restaurant in West Hartford.