Despite the objections of Connecticut employers during last year’s legislative session, the General Assembly pushed through a two-year minimum wage hike. Now they could be preparing another set of increases.
The first wave of the minimum wage increase took place on Jan. 1, increasing the minimum wage from $8.25 to $8.70. Another increase, from $8.70 to $9, is set to take place on Jan. 1, 2015.
Not even a year later, SB 32 proposes to hike the state’s minimum wage increase in 2015 to $9.15 per hour; to $9.60 in 2016, and then in 2017 to $10.10 per hour.
That's would be a nearly $2 increase over just four years—just when Connecticut employers have struggled hard to keep afloat, let alone create entry-level jobs.
Employers fought last year’s proposals largely on the basis that Connecticut’s economy still hasn’t rebounded from the recession. Studies have shown that increases to the minimum wage do a lot more to deprive work opportunities than provide for lower skilled workers and younger people.
And to make up for the higher labor costs, employers often are forced to do things nobody wants, especially in this economy: Cut back on employee hours and benefits, limit opportunities to provide their employees training, and raise prices on goods and services.
Given that the majority of Connecticut’s poor are not in the workforce now but still buy goods and services, increasing the minimum wage can actually worsen the financial situation for many people.
Since the last minimum wage increase passed, little has changed in Connecticut’s economic health: Employers are still struggling with the high costs of doing business in the state, and some perceptions persist that Connecticut is not a good place to locate, or expand businesses.
SB 32 will be the subject of a public hearing by the Labor Committee on Tuesday, February 18.