BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP)Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017, the same rate the president proposed for the federal minimum wage.

The Democrat said the increase would make Connecticut’s wage the highest in the country.

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“The minimum wage has not kept current with the inflation rate, needs to be higher, and we believe that Connecticut should play a role in this national debate as we take steps to give people a decent wage,” Malloy told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott on Tuesday.

Connecticut’s minimum wage increased from $8.25 to $8.70 on Jan. 1. A second increase to $9 is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

Malloy, who has yet to announce his re-election plans, said an even higher wage is needed to “tackle the growing income inequality” that’s hurting the middle class.

The proposal would be considered this session by the General Assembly, which is scheduled to convene Wednesday.

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Malloy said Connecticut has 60,000 to 90,000 workers earning the minimum wage.

“In 2017, they will be solidly above the poverty rate of our nation,” the governor said. “I think that’s appropriate. People who are working 40 hours a week should be above the poverty rate.”

Business groups have opposed previous increases, arguing a higher wage adds to the high cost of doing business and could lead to business closures and layoffs. Malloy disagreed.

“Most of the jobs in this industry are service-oriented or food-oriented,” he said. “Both of those services are going to continue to be provided in all 50 states regardless of what the minimum wage is. But the difference is that the people providing the service will be earning a wage that allows them to move out of the national poverty level.”

During his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama announced he will sign an executive order raising the minimum wage of federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour and has asked Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for that rate, too — up from $7.25.

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