If everything goes as expected, the state of Connecticut will become the first state to enact legislation raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, in line with President Obama’s proposed national increase to the minimum wage. The state Senate is expected on Wednesday to approve a bill to raise the minimum wage in three steps to reach $10.10 on January 1, 2017. If the Senate passes the bill the state House of Representatives could also take up the bill Wednesday.
Under current law, Connecticut’s minimum wage is set to rise to $9 an hour on January 1, 2015. If the new law is passed and signed by the governor, that amount will rise to $9.15 an hour in 2015 and then by $0.50 an hour in each of the next two years. Democrats control the state Assembly, and the governor is also a Democrat.
According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), similar proposals are on the legislative agenda in Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and other states. States where raising the minimum wage is expected to be on the ballot in November include South Dakota, Alaska, Michigan and Arkansas.
Several local governments have already raised the minimum wage above the $10.10 level. Washington, D.C., has approved a rise to $11.50 by 2016, and two Maryland counties have approved a rise to $11.50 by 2017. San Francisco, Santa Fe and San Jose have all raised the minimum wage above $10.10 an hour. Seattle-Tacoma has passed a law requiring $15 an hour for certain occupations.
According to NELP, 69% of all Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10, including 45% of Republicans. Some 57% of all small business owners also support the pay hike. NELP also cites research that shows raising the minimum wage does not have a negative impact on employment.