The General Assembly will swing back into action Monday for a one-day session in an attempt to override Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s veto of a bill that would increase the minimum wage by 35 cents in 2009 and 25 cents in 2010.
The House will need 101 votes and the Senate will need 24 to override Rell’s veto of the minimum wage hikes. The bill passed the House in a 106-45 vote. The Senate approved it 25-11. In the House, four Democrats crossed party lines to vote against it while three Republicans crossed party lines to vote in favor. In the Senate two Republicans, Sen. Sam Caligiuri of Waterbury and Sen. Anthony Guglielmo of Stafford Springs crossed party lines and voted in favor.
Rell, who signed the last minimum wage increase two years ago, said in late May that increasing the minimum wage at this time would hurt small businesses in the state.
“We cannot take a chance on hurting families or employers by signing another minimum wage increase into law at this time,” Rell said the day she vetoed the bill.
“Businesses have told me that they would not be hiring if the wage hike went into effect,” Rell said. “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.”
Click here to read Rell’s veto message of the minimum wage hike.
Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said Friday that he agrees with Rell.
“This is not the time to be increasing the minimum wage,” Cafero said in a phone interview Friday. In tough economic times, he added, what happens is that small businesses end up laying off employees because they can’t afford the increase in the minimum wage.
It’s unclear at the moment if either the House or the Senate has enough votes to override Rell’s recent veto of another bill, one which would create a 24-member cabinet to address the funding needs of nonprofit community providers. Not one Republican in either the House or the Senate voted against the bill. Click here to read our previous story about that debate.
Cafero said he hasn’t heard about the nonprofit cabinet bill coming up for a vote.
“It’s not even close to being worthy of a gubernatorial veto,” Cafero said. Aside from that, he said there is talk of trying to override Rell’s veto of the health care pooling bill in the House, even though the Senate already has said it would not take it up since it doesn’t have the votes for an override.
Cafero said that with lawmakers juggling vacations, graduations, and work schedules, it may be difficult for the Democratic majority to get votes they need to override the minimum wage bill.
To date, Rell has signed 192 bills that were passed during the regular session and the recent special session of the legislature. During that same time she has vetoed six bills.