I hope you saw the new infographic we posted this morning. I think it makes a pretty clear case for raising the minimum wage! Fortunately, in recent months, quite a few states have been getting the message: legislatures in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York are all considering bills to increase the state minimum wage, including the minimum wage for tipped workers. And in Missouri, state advocates just delivered 175,000 signatures in support of a voter initiative that would get a minimum wage increase on the ballot in November.
As of today, the bill in Connecticut (H.B. 5291) – which passed the state House of Representatives last month – is closest to being law. At $8.25 per hour, Connecticut’s minimum wage is higher than the federal level ($7.25 per hour), but still leaves a mother with two kids more than $1,000 below the poverty line if she works full time. H.B. 5291 would raise the state minimum wage to $8.75 per hour over two years and raise the minimum cash wage for tipped workers from $5.69 to $6.04 per hour by 2015. These increases are not huge – and previous versions of the bill would have done more to help low-wage workers – but would still provide a meaningful income boost to thousands of minimum wage workers in Connecticut, nearly six in ten of whom are women. And since most minimum wage workers need to spend their income quickly just to make ends meet, a higher minimum wage would mean more dollars flowing into local communities, helping to grow Connecticut’s economy and create jobs.
Governor Malloy has said he will sign the bill if it comes to his desk. But Connecticut’s legislative session ends at midnight on May 9 – and recent reports suggest the bill may not get a vote in the state Senate. We hope Senators will defy those expectations and act quickly to pass H.B. 5291. Women and men struggling to support their families on minimum wage earnings in Connecticut can’t afford to wait.
Stay tuned to our blog this week for the latest developments in Connecticut, plus updates on efforts to raise the minimum wage in states across the country!