March 7, 2019

$15 minimum wage to be aired at Capitol

HBJ Photo | Joe Cooper
HBJ Photo | Joe Cooper
The state Capitol in Hartford.

Several bills calling to increase Connecticut's minimum wage to $15 per hour will be aired Thursday at the state Capitol.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the Labor and Public Employees Committee is expected to field hours of public testimony from those for and against bills that would increase the state's minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 by 2023.

Connecticut last increased its minimum wage over a three-year period ending Jan. 2017, when it jumped from $8.70 to $10.10. Nearby states including Massachusetts, New York (for companies with 11 or more employees) and New Jersey have adopted legislation to raise their minimum hourly wage to $15. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

In Connecticut, several major employers including Hartford HealthCare and Middlesex Health announced plans to raise their minimum hourly wage to $15. Those recent changes will benefit 2,400 and 238 workers, respectively.

But business advocates argue raising the state's minimum hourly wage to $15 would likely cost jobs for many low-income workers. Small businesses would be hit the hardest by the higher salary floor, according to the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the state's largest business lobby.

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said it will oppose the minimum wage proposals on Thursday.

"The reality is many smaller businesses can't afford to pay workers with no skills $15 per hour because they don't have the money," NFIB Connecticut Director Andrew Markowski said Thursday. "In businesses like food service, hospitality, and amusements, there is not a lot of profit, and that's why this will result in reduced hours and disappearing entry-level jobs."

This story has been updated to include comment from NFIB

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