Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s spokesman confirmed Friday morning that the governor is expected to announce his support for increasing the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 to $9 by 2015.
Malloy does not support tying future increases to the Consumer Price Index, as proposed by this year’s Labor Committee bill.
The idea of hiking the minimum wage is popular with the public, but a similar proposal was unable to gain enough support in the state legislature as recently as last year.
In 2012, lawmakers proposed increasing the minimum wage by $1.50 over two years. That proposal was pared down to 50 cents over two years and found support in the House, but died on the Senate calendar when the upper chamber couldn’t find enough support to get it passed. Some Democratic Senators were concerned about the impact it would have on small businesses.
However, Malloy’s support for the measure may force Senators to reconsider their position on the issue.
Recent polls show 75 percent of the public supports increasing the minimum wage, while just 22 percent don’t support an increase.
Earlier this year, Malloy said he supported increasing the minimum wage on a national level shortly after President Barack Obama proposed it in his State of the Union address.
“The best way to do this would be to do it on a national basis. It would be the fairest way. It would lift up all of our citizenry,” Malloy said.
For generations the minimum wage was raised on a national basis rather than a state-by-state basis, but something happened and the federal government stopped playing a leading role, Malloy has said. The governor credited Obama with starting that discussion again.
“I support him in it 100 percent. With respect to any legislation that comes my way, when it comes my way, we’ll make a decision,” he said.
But Malloy’s announcement Friday means he will no longer be waiting on the sidelines for the legislature to act. Instead, it seems he will actively lobby them on the issue.
The minimum wage is currently $8.25, where it’s been since 2010. The minimum wage bill raised by the Labor Committee calls for a 75 cent increase in each fiscal year, which would raise the minimum wage to $9.75 by 2015.
The legislation is opposed by the Connecticut Restaurant Association, which has taken the lead in beating back similar proposals over the last few years.
Nicole Griffin, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, has said her organization will oppose a minimum wage hike again this year.
“It’s a bad time to increase the minimum wage,” Griffin has said. “The economy hasn’t really improved much since the last year when this proposal was before us.”
She said there are some restaurants in the state where employees are making between $15 and $25 an hour after tips.
“I don’t think it’s government’s job to step in and tell those employers they should be giving those employees a raise,” she said.
Griffin said restaurants already are refraining from hiring new employees because of a law passed in 2011 that requires some employers to give their employees paid time off when they are sick. Connecticut was the first state to pass such a requirement and critics said it sent a message that the state was hostile to businesses.