Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced in a press release that he is introducing legislation during the upcoming regular session of the General Assembly that will increase the state minimum wage to $10.10, mirroring recent national efforts by President Obama and other Congressional leaders to raise the federal minimum wage to that same amount. The increase would give Connecticut the highest minimum wage in the nation.
The governor’s press release said that in the summer of 2013, Governor Malloy signed a bill into law that increased the state minimum wage in two stages: from $8.25 to $8.70 on Jan. 1, 2014, followed by a second increase to $9.00 that is currently scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The proposal the Governor announced today calls for a slight modification of next year’s increase, bringing the total to $9.15 on Jan. 1, 2015. The proposal would then 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.
“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. 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 news conference in Bridgeport, said his press release. “For too long, the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living. As studies have shown, the workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase brought home 46 percent of their household’s total wage and salary income in 2011. When workers earn more money, businesses will have more customers. This modest boost will help those earning the least to make ends meet.”
Out of Connecticut’s workforce of 1.7 million people, the governor’s release said, it is estimated that there are currently 70,000 to 90,000 workers who earn the minimum wage. The governor’s proposal means that an employee working 40-hours per week would earn $21,008 per year, said his release. Currently, the release said, the federal poverty guideline for a family of four is $23,850.
“The recession and the relatively slow economic recovery have been especially difficult for our lower-wage workers,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said in the same release. “This phased-in increase is a way that we can begin to help these working men and women help themselves, and contribute to a recovery that will benefit us all.”