HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Connecticut is now the first state in the union to have a law on the books to bring the minimum wage up to $10.10 an hour, as Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the legislation Thursday evening.
“We want to lift people out of poverty. No one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty and that’s the status here in America right now,” Malloy told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott on Thursday afternoon before he signed the bill. “We want to lead that change and I’m hoping states surrounding us will join this effort.”
The state legislature passed the measure on Wednesday. Under the law, the minimum wage will increase annually until it reaches $10.10 an hour in 2017. President Barack Obama has pushed for the national minimum wage togo up to $10.10 an hour.
“It’s time to get this right and I’m trying to help the rest of the country reset the clock,” said Malloy.
Malloy said the argument that the move to raise the minimum wage will negatively impact small businesses doesn’t hold much water since most minimum wage workers are employed by large corporations.
“There are a precious few small companies that are relying on minimum wage employment,” said Malloy. “We have somewhere between 70,000 and 100,000 people earning the minimum wage. So as a total workforce out of almost 1.65 million people, it’s a relatively small number.”
He said there may be some negative impact on smaller businesses but added there will be a far greater positive impact for those currently making the minimum wage.
The state Senate voted 21-14 in favor of the legislation on Wednesday and then immediately sent the measure to the House of Representatives. The House went on to vote in favor of the legislation 87-54.
Malloy signed the measure into law at a ceremony in New Britain, where President Obama appeared earlier this month to press for a $10.10 national wage.
Under the measure, the minimum wage will increase to $9.15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015. It’ll then go up to $9.60 on Jan. 1, 2016 and to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017.
The current minimum wage in the state is $8.70 an hour.
Similar proposals to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour are being considered by lawmakers in Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and other states.
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