Governor Malloy signs minimum wage bill for state

New legislation raises rate to $10.10

By Kim Bigelow | 03/31/14 | Updated 03/31/14 | Posted in News, Campus News, Local News, National News

Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill on Thursday, March 27th to raise Connecticut's minimum wage to $10.10/hr. by 2017. The bill passed 21-14 in the Senate and 87-54 in the House.

Connecticut is the first state in the country to raise its minimum wage to $10.10, soon to be the highest of all state rates. Governor Malloy signed the bill this past week, shortly after his visit to Central Connecticut State University where he spoke in support of President Obama's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to the same rate.

When speaking at CCSU, Malloy said, "I will follow this President on the great policies that he has put forward, but New England needs to lead on this issue. We need to make sure that women move out of poverty, that young people move out of poverty, that they can raise their families, that they can aspire on behalf of their children. They deserve a decent wage and we're gonna give it to them here in Connecticut."

Connecticut currently has the fourth highest minimum wage at $8.70. Washington State has the highest with $9.32, Oregon is second with $9.10, and Vermont just above Connecticut at $8.73.

The bill guaranteed the state a $9.15 minimum wage by January of 2015, $9.60 by 2016, and finally reaching $10.10 by 2017.

Malloy also said in his speech, "I absolutely believe, as you do, that if you work forty hours a week, you should not be living in poverty in Connecticut or in any of the fifty states of America."

Although most public polls show that Connecticut citizens are in favor of the bill, critics fear that the higher minimum wage will make Connecticut less appealing to business. If this were to be the case, the state unemployment rate could increase from its current rate of 7.2%

Many critics gathered at the governor's mansion on Prospect Avenue Saturday afternoon to protest the new minimum wage bill, in addition to other issues including gun control and unemployment.

Among the protesters was former Connecticut gubernatorial Republican Candidate Joe Visconti, riding up and down the street on a horse in front of the governor's estate.

Drivers passing by honked in support of the protesters, who say this minimum wage bill will cause more harm than benefit.

Harold Harris, a protester from Glastonbury, said, "They use a number like $10.10 because you can remember it, it's all about publicity. They passed increases into the minimum wage last year, which haven't even been incorporated yet. We're rolling into them now. So this was all about elections, nothing about trying to improve the economy and making this a better place for employees."

Harris also said according to the Congressional Budget Office, over half of the people in the country who receive minimum wage, are under the age of 25.

He says that the unemployment rate for those ages 16-19 is 21 percent in the state of Connecticut, and this number will only increase with the passing of this bill.

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