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Malloy Pushing for $10.10 Minimum Wage in CT

The state's congressional delegation and the largest union praise the plan, but two Republican candidates for governor say it's politically motivated.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Credit: Patch File Photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Credit: Patch File Photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy fell into lockstep with President Barack Obama this week in pitching a proposal that will increase the state's minimum wage to $10.10.

Under a proposal Malloy announced Tuesday, Connecticut's minimum wage would gradually increase to that number — the same one Obama is pushing for at the federal level — by Jan. 1, 2017. If approved, the state would have the highest minimum wage in the nation.

Malloy, a Democrat, announced his proposal during a press conference Tuesday in Bridgeport, the state's most populated city.

“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," Malloy said. "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.”  

"When workers earn more money, businesses will have more customers," he continued. "This modest boost will help those earning the least to make ends meet.”

According to information included in Malloy's proposal, 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," a press release announcing the proposal states. "Currently, the federal poverty guideline for a family of four is $23,850."

Just last year Malloy signed legislation that pushed the state's minimum wage to $8.70 this month and up to $9 next January. His new plan would put next January's target at $9.15 and then add a 45-cent increase, to $9.60, beginning Jan. 1, 2016, followed by a 50-cent increase to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017.

Support for the Proposal

Connecticut's Congressional delegation — all Democrats — praised Malloy's proposal. The state's largest union, Council 4 AFSCME, also threw its support behind the plan.

“With Congress paralyzed, Council 4 members are pleased to see Governor Malloy answering the President’s call for states to lead on the minimum wage issue,” said Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano. “This is important both to reduce our state’s income gap — the 2nd 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."

Republicans: Proposal is Politically Motivated

Two Republicans in the state — who have launched campaigns for governor — are saying Malloy's proposal seems to be politically motivated during an election year. Malloy has not announced whether he will seek re-election.

One, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-28), told the news website CT Mirror: "This will hurt small business owners and cost jobs.”

"The issue of income disparity is real, but that is due to our lack of vision and job training and our unfriendly business environment," the other, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, said in the Mirror's article.

Malloy shot right back. "What it should look like is I'm doing the right thing," he told the Mirror.

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