SPEAKER DONOVAN APPLAUDS LABOR COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF MINIMUM WAGE BILL; SAYS LOW-WAGE WORKERS, CT ECONOMY WILL BENEFIT

House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden) called today’s Labor Committee vote approving a bill that will raise and then index Connecticut’s minimum wage "important for hard-working families in Connecticut and an economic boost that will give more spending money to those low-wage workers."

The proposal calls for Connecticut’s current minimum wage of $8.25 per hour to be raised to $8.75 per hour on Jan. 1, 2013, $9.25 per hour on Jan. 1, 2014 and then to be indexed beginning on Jan. 1, 2015. The bill now moves on to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Noting changes from the original proposal before the committee, Speaker Donovan said, "We heard concerns both about the amount of the increase and the timing of implementation. The bill as it stands now addresses those concerns and still helps low-income workers across our state."

He added, "When I testified before the Labor Committee, I said we desperately need to get people back to work and we also need to recognize that those who do have jobs also need to make ends meet. A family earning the current minimum wage cannot meet the basic needs of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care and minor emergencies. Legislatures from New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts recognize this and are considering raising the minimum wage. It is clear the time to increase the minimum wage is now."

Connecticut last raised its minimum wage from $8.00 per hour to $8.25 per hour in January 2010. The indexing proposal would automatically adjust the minimum wage annually to keep pace with the rising cost of living. States that currently index their minimum wages so that they are automatically adjusted each year are: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Vermont and Washington.

The federal minimum wage would be $10.40 per hour if it had been indexed since its inception based on cost of living. The last time the federal government raised the minimum wage was July 2009 from $6.55 per hour to

$7.25 per hour.