CTNJ file photo

Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed a bill that would increase the minimum wage in the state by 35 cents in January 2009 from the current rate of $7.65 per hour to $8 per hour. The bill also would have increased the minimum wage from $8 to $8.25 in 2010 and passed largely along party lines in both chambers of the General Assembly.

“There is no doubt that families, particularly low income families, have been hurt by our strained economy,” Rell said in a press release. “We all feel the pinch when buying groceries, filling up the gas tank and heating our homes. Yet we must also realize that Connecticut employers face these same financial pressures and are having an extremely difficult time making ends meet.”

“We cannot take a chance on hurting families or employers by signing another minimum wage increase into law at this time,” Rell said.

“Businesses have told me that they would not be hiring if the wage hike went into effect. Employers that are now operating on the margin may be forced to close or leave Connecticut to more business-affordable states, resulting in job losses that will undermine the already fragile foundation of financial security for thousands of families.”

Governor Rell signed the last increase in the minimum wage two years ago.

Democratic leaders like Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, offered a different point of view on the minimum wage bill.

“Gov. Rell’s veto will hurt single mothers, working families, and the 65,000 people in Connecticut who are paid at or below minimum wage. For these families, the extra few dollars a week is crucial to just keep pace with the rising cost of groceries and gas. Gov. Rell says she understands this reality but her empty rhetoric is cold comfort to these families,” Williams said in an emailed statement.

Williams was joined in his criticism of the veto by his colleagues in the House. Labor Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Kevin Ryan said, “At a time when rising energy and fuel costs are hurting the hard-working families all over the state, Governor Rell missed a major opportunity to provide some relief.”

“By vetoing this bill the governor is ignoring the hardships that many of our residents feel on a daily basis,” Ryan said in a press release.

Click here to read her veto message to the Secretary of the State.