HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A big increase to the state’s minimum wage is expected to be signed into law Thursday. It will make Connecticut the first state to adopt a $10.10 minimum wage since President Barack Obama called for it in his State of the State Address in February.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass this shortly. It passed in the State Senate shortly before 4 p.m. on a party-line vote of 21 to 14.
The close to 100,000 Connecticut residents that are working at minimum wage jobs are a big step closer to getting a series of raises over the next two years.
The wage was just raised to $8.70 per hour on Jan. 1. This boosts it to $10.10 by January of 2017.
The bill was introduced Wednesday by recently elected State Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven.
“What we’re doing is increasing the amount of money that people at the margins make and making them able to be consumers of products they can’t currently consume,” Holder-Winfield said. “To me, that actually is pro-business.”
But led by Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield, Republicans fought against the bill.
“What we know from all of the studies done on the minimum wage is that while it will help some people, it’s going to hurt others,” McKinney said.
Sen. Rob Kane of Watertown, who owns a small business in Waterbury, was part of the opposition.
“What you’re going to see is lowering of hours, lowering of the number of employees getting hired,” Kane said.
But the Democratic leaders, ushering this into law at the request of the Governor Malloy, use a different set of statistics.
“The minimum wage, if it had kept pace with inflation since 1968, would be significantly higher than it will be under this bill even when it reaches the level of $10.10 an hour by 2017,” said Majority Leader Martin Looney.
For Malloy, who campaigned for this along side Obama in New Britain earlier this month, it’s an issue he can campaign on for re-election.
“I’m excited about the future of Connecticut where people can look forward to working 40 hours a week and not living in poverty,” Malloy said.
This is expected to get final passage in the House shortly.
Earlier this month, Malloy was with Obama at the Cafe Beauregard in New Britain. Sources tell News 8 that the governor is planning to go back there Thursday to sign this bill into law.