The Vermont House passed a bill Wednesday afternoon that would make the state the first in the country to cross the $10 mark in its minimum wage.
The bill would boost the wage to $10.10 on January 1st, 2015. Two other states — Connecticut and Maryland — plan to get to that level by 2017, and that's when Governor Peter Shumlin wants Vermont to do so.
Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith released a statement noting that the House vote “...moves the state closer to a livable wage and means that Vermonters will be more likely to be able to meet their most basic needs,”
Supporters of moving the wage to $10.10 sooner say the purchasing power of low-income working Vermonters has been severely eroded in recent years and they need a significant boost soon.
Critics of jumping in one step to $10.10 say small businesses need more time to adjust, and it would be better to phase in the increase.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.