The legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, in two separate votes Feb. 21, approved one proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage while a second died in a tied vote.

Both votes were along party lines.

Forbes 2016 Best States for Business
A number of independent national studies, including Forbes, rank Connecticut in the bottom 10 states for business costs.

The committee, comprised of Senate and House members, had its Senate members vote on the Senate proposal, SB 13, which died in a 2-2 vote.

The full committee then voted 7-6 in favor of HB 6208, the House bill.

Although Connecticut has raised its minimum wage for the past four straight years—including last month when it increased to $10.10 per hour—HB 6208 hikes it to $15 an hour by 2023 then allows for annual increases each following year.

That is essentially a 50% increase in the wage at a time when Connecticut is still trying to recover the tens of thousands of jobs it lost in the 2008-2010 recession.

Connecticut trails most of New England and the country in jobs recovered since the recession.

CBIA Counsel Eric Gjede recently urged committee members to consider the state’s businesses before passing another increase.

“We’ve already had minimum wage increases in each of the last four years and what we’ve seen is businesses have been automating far faster than they had intended,” Gjede said.

“Given that we’ve only recovered about 70% of jobs lost in this state during the recession, I would just encourage the committee to think about what we’re doing when we’re going forward. We should be doing things that make hiring employees easier for businesses.”

The new hike will likely hurt small businesses—the 75% of businesses in Connecticut that employ 10 people or less.
While some advocates of the change feel that America’s big box stores can afford to pay their workers $15 an hour, Rep. Richard Smith (R-New Fairfield) said the new hike would likely hurt small businesses instead—the 75% of businesses in Connecticut that employ 10 people or less.

“It’s the local hardware store,” said Smith, who voted against the increase. “It’s the grocer. It’s the gas station down the corner.

"It’s folks that are barely able to make a living because of the taxes this state imposes on them.”

The bill the committee approved now goes to the state House of Representatives.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede (860.480.1784) | @egjede