HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont says he’s looking forward to signing a bill into law that incrementally increases Connecticut’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023.

By a vote of 21-14, the Democratic-controlled Senate forwarded the bill to Lamont’s desk early Friday morning. The bill previously cleared the state House of Representatives, also controlled by Democrats.

Despite claims by Republican senators like John Kissel of Enfield, who say the legislation will discourage employers from hiring and “goes too far, way too fast,” Lamont contends the increase is “fair” and “gradual.”

The former businessman is predicting the more than 300,000 minimum wage earners in Connecticut will “invest the money right back into our economy,” benefiting local businesses.

The first increase, from the current $10.10 an hour to $11, will occur Oct. 1.

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