On March 27th, Connecticut Democratic Governor Dan Malloy signed into law a measure that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. As the wage increase is phased in, Connecticut will surpass Washington’s 9.32 an hour minimum wage, to become the highest minimum wage in the country. The 10.10 figure has been pushed by President Obama and congressional Democrats as a federal minimum wage target, but Connecticut wasted no time in becoming the first state to adopt that pay increase for the state’s low wage workers. The current minimum wage in Connecticut is $8.70 an hour, so the increase to $10.10 will be a substantial pay raise for those earning minimum wage.
Clueless and cynical Connecticut Republicans were quick to denounce the new law. State House Republican spokesman Patrick O’Neil dismissed the bill’s positive impact by stating:
This is just politics in an election year and isn’t going to lift anyone out of poverty.
Perhaps an extra 2900 dollars a year would not make a difference for Patrick O’neil, but for a full time minimum wage worker, that amount of money is not insignificant. The raise would amount to 56 dollars every week for a full-time worker. That money becomes real disposable income that can be used for food, health care, housing or utilities.
Connecticut’s Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey noted that:
Raising the minimum wage helps people who need it most, is good for the economy and is the right thing to do.
This is just a step in moving people in the right direction. We will be lifting people out of poverty in the state of Connecticut. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it’s also good for business.
The Democrats are right. Despite all the fear-mongering from Republicans that raising the minimum wage will usher in a jobless apocalypse, the truth is raising the minimum wage works. Washington state has had the nation’s highest minimum wage since 1999, and during the last fifteen years they have enjoyed lower unemployment than most states in the country. Now Connecticut is poised to reap the benefits of having the highest paid minimum wage workforce in the nation. Other states may soon follow. $10.10 is a step in the right direction towards making all jobs pay a livable wage. Democrats delivered for workers in Connecticut this week. Yes, it is an election year, but that merely illustrates just how important it is to choose Democrats over Republicans. One party believes Americans deserve a raise and the other party does not. It really is that simple.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.