FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- A proposal to hike the minimum wage in Connecticut to $10.10 per hour by 2017 will be introduced when the General Assembly opens its new session, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday.
"Full-time workers should not live in poverty," Malloy said via Twitter @GovMalloyOffice. "A good and decent wage is good for workers and good for business."
The proposal would mirror recent national efforts by President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders to raise the federal minimum wage to that same amount.
The increase would give Connecticut the highest minimum wage in the nation.
In the summer of 2013, Malloy signed a bill into law that increased the state's minimum wage in two stages: from $8.25 to $8.70 per hour on Jan. 1, 2014, followed by a second increase to $9 per hour scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The proposal announced Tuesday calls for a modification of next year’s increase, bringing the total to $9.15 on Jan. 1, 2015. The proposal would then add a 45-cent increase to $9.60 beginning Jan. 1, 2016, followed by a 50-cent increase to $10.10 effective Jan. 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. 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,” Malloy said at a news conference in Bridgeport.
“For too long, the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living. 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.”
Out of Connecticut’s workforce of 1.7 million people, it is estimated that there are currently 70,000 to 90,000 workers who earn the minimum wage. The Governor’s proposal means that an employee working 40-hours per week would earn $21,008 per year. Currently, the federal poverty guideline for a family of four is $23,850.
“The recession and the relatively slow economic recovery have been especially difficult for our lower-wage workers,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said in a statement. “This phased-in increase is a way that we can begin to help these working men and women help themselves, and contribute to a recovery that will benefit us all.”
The proposal will be included in the governor’s legislative package for the 2014 regular session of the General Assembly, which begins Wednesday, Feb. 5.