Connecticut has become the first state to sign into law a minimum wage increase to $10.10, matching President Obama's minimum wage for federal contract workers. This will be the highest minimum wage of any state in the country.
Obama pushed his minimum wage increase in Connecticut, stopping by New Britain earlier this month (the New York Times' Mark Landler described it as a "rough-hewed city" and a "hard-hit town," but those in the know prefer "hard hittin'," as in "hard hittin' New Britain." That said, it's better than Reuters, which called it "New Bristol." I lived in New Britain for five years, Reuters. Not "New Bristol." There is no such thing as "New Bristol") to chat with the governors of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Connecticut governor Dannel P. Malloy clearly took his message to heart, signing the minimum wage increase bill into law at the same diner where he hung out with Obama a few weeks ago.
"No one in no state should work 40 hours a week and still live in poverty," Malloy said. "Connecticut has put the marker down. Other states will follow. We're going to get the job done."
The bill easily passed through the state's legislature, which is majority Democrat. Only Democrats voted for it. The wage will increase in steps: from $8.70 to $9.15 on January 1, 2015; to $9.60 on January 1, 2016, and then to $10.10 on January 1, 2017.
Those opposing the minimum wage increase think it will hurt small businesses (the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said a wage increase would result in job losses). But as the Hartford Courant's Matthew Kauffman points out, when you adjust for inflation, Connecticut's minimum wage has actually been higher: $10.78 in 1968.