On the same day he delivered his State of The Union address this week, President Barack Obama announced that he was increasing the minimum wage for federal contractor workers to $10.10 per hour. There’s mixed reaction to the idea...
The federal minimum wages stands at $7.25 an hour. Many agree that raising the minimum wage re-adjusts it to 1960s levels; for example, the $1.60 minimum wage of 1968 was worth more than $10.50 in 2013 dollars.
New York’s minimum is now $8 an hour, after a new law that takes effect today. It’s part of a phased-in increase that will result in a $9 an hour rate for the state’s lowest income earners by 2016. But a leading lawmaker says the hike should be phased in faster, and advocates for the poor say tip earners, like wait staff, should also be included.
The minimum wage in Massachusetts is currently $8 per hour, the rate was set in 2008 and does not adjust for inflation.
The federal rate is currently $7.75, but President Obama has requested that Congress raise the rate to $9 per hour and index the rate to inflation.
The bill, filed by Democratic State Senator Marc Pacheco of Taunton, would seek to raise the Bay State’s minimum wage to $11 dollars over three years. Pacheco said that although the $3 increase may seem dramatic, the amount more accurately reflects the value of the minimum wage in 1968 adjusted for inflation.
Massachusetts State Senate President Therese Murray last week raised the possibility of a debate in the legislature this year on raising the state’s minimum wage. Noting that both New York and Maine plan to raise their minimum wages, Murray said there is a growing gap between the $8 per hour minimum wage and a living wage in Massachusetts. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Kitty Callaghan, a member of the Living Wage Western Massachusetts steering committee.
The New York State Senate held a rare Sunday session at the Capitol, in an attempt to get the state budget finished on time in the midst of major religious holidays.
The State Senate met to vote on three previously agreed upon budget bills, in an attempt to finish the spending plan without interfering with the Easter and Passover holidays. Senate Finance Committee Chair John DeFrancisco explained it on the Senate floor.
“We’re trying to jumpstart the process,” said De Francisco, who says starting early gives everyone “ample time” for debating the bills.