The bill passed by a vote of 23-13 in the Senate and 87-54 in the
House, mostly along party lines with Democrats approving the move
and Republicans opposing it.
Malloy, a Democrat, said he plans on signing the bill at a ceremony
in New Britain on Thursday.
"I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of
national importance," Malloy said in a written statement following
the bill's legislative approval.
"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 spend it," he said
Malloy's push comes at a time when Democratic politicians across the
United States are raising concerns about the growing gap between the
poorest and richest Americans.
On a visit to Connecticut earlier this month, President Barack Obama
urged Congress to raise the federal minimum to the same $10.10
level, which has not gotten backing in the Republican-controlled
U.S. House of Representatives.
Obama echoed his call to action in a statement on Wednesday that
hailed the bill's passage as "an important step" in raising wages
for state workers and praised lawmakers in New England and beyond
for backing higher wages.
"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.
State Senator Gary Holder-Winfield, chairman of the legislature's
Labor Committee, said: "We are proud to lead the nation in moving
the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour."
"One of the nice things about raising the minimum wage is that we
are finally paying attention to the Main Street end of our economy,
not just the Wall Street side," said state Representative Peter
Tercyak, the lower house's Labor-Committee co-chair. "Minimum wage
workers spend every penny they earn, and most of it locally."
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Connecticut's minimum wage currently stands at $8.70 per hour, and
the bill would phase in the hike to $10.10 over three years. The
current highest state minimum wage in the United States is
Washington's $9.32, above the $7.25 federal minimum.
O'Neil, a spokesman for the state's House Republican Caucus, has
called the proposal "pure politics in an election year." Malloy is
up for re-election in November.
The Washington, D.C., city council late last year passed a measure
raising its minimum wage to $11.50 per hour in 2016. Workers in
Sonoma, California, have the highest entry pay rate, at $15.38 per
Out of Connecticut's work force of 1.7 million people, economists
estimate there are currently 70,000 to 90,000 workers who earn the
minimum wage. Malloy's proposal means that an employee working 40
hours per week would earn $21,008 per year. Currently, the federal
poverty guideline for a family of four is $23,850.
Neighboring New York and Rhode Island, as well as nearby New Jersey,
also increased the minimum wage this year.
Advocates of raising the minimum wage argue that it stimulates the
economy since low-income people spend a higher percentage of their
income, while opponents contend that it could slow hiring at a time
that the U.S. economy is still facing high unemployment.
(Editing by Scott Malone, Gunna Dickson, Bernard Orr and Eric Walsh)
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