Courant political reporter Daniela Altimari writes:
The compromise minimum wage bill that cleared the House of Representatives last week currently does not have enough support to win passage in the state Senate.
With the session set to end at midnight on May 9, time is running out. But the chief proponent of the bill, House Speaker Chris Donovan, is not ready to concede defeat.
“We’re still working on it,” Donovan said Tuesday night. ”We hope to have a vote soon and pass it.”
Senate Democratic leaders learned they did not have the votes to pass the bill during a closed-door caucus on the measure earlier on Tuesday, said Adam Joseph, Senate Democratic spokesman.
The proposal, which passed the House on a vote of 88 to 62 on Thursday, would raise the state’s $8.25 hourly minimum wage to $8.50 an hour on Jan. 1 and $8.75 in 2014.
That’s significantly scaled back from the initial proposal put forth by Donovan, a Democrat from Meriden who is running for Congress. As crafted by Donovan, the bill would have set the minimum wage at $9 an hour on July 1, and to $9.75 an hour in July 2013. After that, it would have been linked to the Consumer Price Index to help low-wage workers’ salaries keep pace with inflation.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was lukewarm on the initial proposal, said last week he would sign the more modest increase that was approved by the House.
But even the watered down wage hike drew harsh criticism from House Republicans, who said it would hurt already struggling businesses while failing to provide any real help to low-wage workers. Proponents said it would provide a bit of help to those workers, who would likely spend the extra cash – about $10 a week.