Malloy proposal would raise wage floor to $10.10 by 2017


HARTFORD — Just months after raising the state’s minimum wage to $9 over two years, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is once again looking to increase the required hourly pay rate, this time to $10.10 by the year 2017.

Like the minimum wage that took effect this year, this latest proposal, SB 32, would be  incremental. It changes last year’s law by establishing a $9.15 per hour minimum wage beginning January 1, 2015, raising it to $9.60 the following year, and to $10.10 on January 1, 2017.

“There is a debate happening across our country on how to tackle the growing income inequality that is detrimental to our middle-class families and to our economy,” said Malloy in a statement. “Part of tackling that critically important challenge is making sure that we recognize that a good and decent wage is good for workers and good for business.

“For too long, the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living,” Malloy added. “As studies have shown, the workers who would benefit from a minimum-wage increase brought home 46 percent of their household’s total wage and salary income in 2011. When workers earn more money, businesses will have more customers. This modest boost will help those earning the least to make ends meet.”

Last year’s law raised the minimum wage to $8.70 (from the previous $8.25) at the beginning this year, and increases it again to $9 per hour at the start of 2015.

According to the governor’s release, about 80,000 of Connecticut’s 1.7 million-person workforce earn the minimum wage.

Malloy’s increased-wage initiative will be among legislation proposed during the General Assembly’s current  session.

The federal poverty guideline states that $23,850 for a four-member family. Malloy’s proposal would earn an employee working 40 hours a week about $21,008, according to the release.

 Business groups portray regard Malloy’s proposal as toxic.

According to a government affairs report from the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), the state’s largest business group: “Employers fought last year’s proposals largely on the basis that Connecticut’s economy still hasn’t rebounded from the recession. Studies have shown that increases to the minimum wage do a lot more to deprive work opportunities than provide for lower-skilled workers ands younger people.

“And to make up for higher labor costs, employers often are forced to do things nobody wants, especially in this economy: cut back on employee hours and benefits, limit opportunities to provide their employees training, and raise prices on goods and services,” added the CBIA report.