Seizing on another popular issue in a tough election year. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called for raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017—and immediately earned the applause of New Haven’s most influential state legislator.
At a Bridgeport press conference Tuesday, Malloy proposed raising the wage to $9.15 an hour in January 2015, $9.60 an hour by January 2016, and $10.10 an hour by January 2017.
In other words, low-wage workers would get raises for five years in a row rather than having to wait to see if the legislature would pass a new raise each time. Minimum-wage workers already got two raises—to $8.70 starting this month, then to $9 a month starting next January.
As President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio have made income inequality a top national issue, Democrats across the country have seized on raising the minimum wage as an election-year plank.
New Haven state Sen. Martin Looney, the chamber’s majority leader, issued a statement applauding Malloy’s call.
“From President Obama to Gov. Malloy, momentum is building to address income inequality in this country,” the statement quoted Looney as saying. “People working full-time jobs should receive a wage that allows them to care for their families. A low minimum wage forces the government to subsidize the cost of employment while privatizing the profits. As a result, the costs are shifted to government in the form of aid to low-wage workers.”
An estimated 70,000 to 90,000 people in Connecticut earn the minimum wage. Supporters of hikes in the wage argue that lowest-wage workers need to at least keep up with inflation, and that making ends meet on the minimum wage is difficult. Opponents claim that raising the minimum costs jobs, a hotly debated conclusion among policy experts on both sides of the ideological divide.
Malloy referenced the national discussion in his official remarks Tuesday:
“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. 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.”
AFSCME Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano also applauded Malloy’s move.
“This is important both to reduce our state’s income gap — the second largest in the nation — and to retain young workers who are on the verge of leaving the state because wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living. We ask the legislature not to delay but to take this issue up quickly and raise the minimum wage,” Luciano is quoted as saying in a union press release.
posted by: anonymous on February 5, 2014 8:54am
People voting “no” on the poll believe that it should rise to $13 or higher, not $10.10.
posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 5, 2014 9:50am
Pundits,and loyal to the Democratic party. You are already praising the proposed $10.10 raise in the federal minimum wage. Lets do some math: $10.10 x 40 hours a week, and really that is 35 hours a week, but lets say 40 hours @ $10.10= $404.00 a week x 52 weeks= $21, 008 a year BEFORE TAXES, retirement, health. Now deduct a minimum tax rate of 18% that is an annual income of $17,500. Try surviving on that after rent/mortgage, transpiration, food, childcare, clothing. Some of us make twice that amount some even 60k a year, and are having hard time surviving. Now imagine that $17,500 and you have a child or someone else to take care of. Dan Malloy and his supporters in the words of Malcolm X.
posted by: Atwater on February 5, 2014 10:14am
The minimum wage should be $15.00 per hour. Connecticut is one of the most expensive states to live in and the majority of the jobs in this state are service jobs, which usually only pay minimum wage. Raise the minimum wage so that working people can afford to live, or keep it the way it is and have more and more people on the state’s welfare roles.
posted by: breakingbad23 on February 5, 2014 10:58am
Atwater, one of the reasons our cost of living is so high here is because we are one of the highest minimum wage states in the country. What are you willing to pay for a cheeseburger? A cup of coffee? A roll of toilet paper? Increasing the minimum wage will not better one person’s financial position in this state. The cost will get passed right back to them (and us) in the form of higher costs.
posted by: TheMadcap on February 5, 2014 2:17pm
Your entire view is predicated on the idea that if one variable in an economic formula rises by 1, the rest have to as well. They don’t. For example, here’s a study from Berkley on big box retailers raising their wages, focused on Wal-Mart and a hypothetical $12/hr minimum. The end summary is for the average person who spends $1,187 a year at Wal-Mart, if Wal-Mart passed 100% of all costs of the higher wage to consumers, that average consumer would spend an extra $12.49 a year at Wal-Mart.
One of the news hours did a segment on what would happen to prices at McDonalds if $15/hr was the minimum and all costs were passed onto the consumer. An almost doubling of wages for a lot of workers would result in a 25% cost increase.
posted by: Atwater on February 5, 2014 3:11pm
The cost of living in this state is so high because of our gas tax, our sales tax, our income tax, our property taxes, cost of property, etc. Madcap summarized the situation concretely, raising the minimum wage would not affect prices to any great degree. In fact it would increase the spending power of the average person. If our sole aim is to increase consumption than it follows logic to increase the minimum wage. But, I would contend that this should not be our sole aim. We should all work to ensure that all citizens are given the opportunity to earn a decent, living wage.
posted by: OhHum on February 6, 2014 4:54pm
What is being left out of the discussion is that a lot of union contracts are tied to the minimum wage. If unions wages rise due to the increase in the minimum wage those costs will also raise the cost of goods and services to the consumer. As you can see the economic impact is much more complex and hurts many more people than it helps.