Legislative panel recommends $15 min wage for Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–One month from today, Connecticut’s minimum wage will go up from $9.60 per hour to $10.10.

On Thursday, a special panel appointed by the legislature and the Governor is recommending that it keep going up until it reaches $15. The State of New York has already done this, and that was one of the factors that pushed this board to make this recommendation.

The board has recommended that Connecticut gradually raise the wage to $15 dollars over the next five years.

“People who work full time should not be living in poverty,” said James Bhandary-Alexander of the New Haven Legal Aid, and who served as chair of the Low Wage Employer Advisory Board.  

After ten months of research, the board concluded that a gradual hike to $15 dollars per hour would achieve two goals.

“It reduces poverty, puts money in the hands and pockets of low wage workers, who’ll spend it right here in Connecticut, and also will not have any negative affect on job growth in the state,” Bhandary-Alexander said.

52-year-old Elaine Brown of Bridgeport is an Army veteran, works two jobs making $13 an hour as a home health aid, and is barely getting by.

“How are you supposed to get out of poverty if you cannot make more money? You’re gonna pretty much be stuck in the same economic situation,” Brown said.

But business leaders in Connecticut will oppose any effort to hike the wage again and continue to label the state anti-business.

“We have the second highest unemployment rate in New England right now. What we should be all focusing on is how to create jobs in this state not finding ways to make creating jobs more expensive,” said Eric Gjede of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Governor Malloy, who says he is proud to have been the first Governor to sign a law raising the minimum wage $10.10, is noncommittal about raising it again. A spokesman today saying that further increases will require a thoughtful analysis and the Governor looks forward to taking part in the debate.

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