State Representatives Themis Klarides, Charles Ferraro, and Kathy Kennedy joined colleagues in a nearly a fifteen-hour debate, from Wednesday, May 8th to the early afternoon on Thursday, May 9th regarding the increase to the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The House Republican caucus offered eight amendments to help rework the legislation so that it didn’t punish businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities. For example, House Amendment Schedule G was offered to exempt municipalities from having to pay employees $15 an hour.
“I am seriously concerned about the negative impact this legislation will have on our various communities. From the small business owners’ impeded ability to afford staff and keep their doors open, to the intellectually and developmentally disabled population’s reduced access to employment opportunities. This bill will continue Connecticut’s stunted economic growth,” said Rep. Klarides.
“Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and taking away the control from the legislature on future minimum wage increase is reckless fiscal policy,” said Rep. Ferraro. “As a small business owner, I can tell you first hand this will have a negative impact on businesses large and small. Municipal leaders will also have to increase the minimum wage for city and town employees, which will be difficult for any size municipality and could result in higher local taxes. This will no doubt cost every taxpayer in Connecticut more money.”
The final version of the bill will increase the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour over a four-and one-half year period, the fastest pace to $15 dollars an hour in the country. Among its more controversial components is a provision allowing the minimum wage increase beyond $15 without legislative approval as it relates to the employment cost index.
House Bill 5004 now awaits action in the State Senate.