Where We Live: The Minimum Wage Debate

Connecticut’s Minimum wage - now at $8.25 - may be changing

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Kia Murrell, Connecticut Business and Industry Association
Kia Murrell, Connecticut Business and Industry Association Photo:Chion Wolf
Kennard Ray, Working Families Party
Kennard Ray, Working Families Party Photo:Chion Wolf
Where We Live: The Minimum Wage Debate
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Where We Live: The Minimum Wage Debate

 

Connecticut’s Minimum wage - now at $8.25 - may be changing.

The state house has passed a bill that would hike it by 25 cents each of the next two years. Now it goes to the senate.

Supporters argue the increase would help low wage workers while stimulating the economy.

But opponents say it’s “anti-business”- that the hike would impact small businesses already struggling with the effects of a bad economy. And that with already the fourth highest minimum wage, high insurance costs, and paid sick leave, this is just another reason Connecticut isnt “open for business”

But think about what a one-quarter an hour raise really means. And does $10 more a week really hurt or help anyone?

To answer these questions we called on a few researchers/economists on both sides of the issue. Michael Saltsman is a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute. Doug Hall is the Director of Economic Analysis and Research Network at the Economic Policy Institute. John asked them if there is a magic number, or middle ground, from an economic standpoint that we could get to in a state like Connecticut that is high wage, high cost - where it makes sense to put a minumum wage for workers?

Doug Hall was excited about the original proposal that would see the 75 cent increase over the next two years, and indexed to inflation. But Michael Saltsman said evidence points to the idea that if we are going to trying to help low income families, raising the minimum wage isnt a great way to do it. "I dont think looking for a magic number is the right thing to do... Leaving Connecticut's minimum wage what it's at right now and letting people get in and earn a raise and work their way up, like people are always doing is the right approach."

We also talked to representatives of two organizations very vocal in the local debate, Kia Murrell from the CBIA and Kennard Ray from Working Families Party.

Ray made the point that if today's minimum wage was tied to inflation, it would be at $10.39, which he thinks is closer to a living wage. "Responsible business owners support this," he said.

Although the bill has been stripped down, Murrell says the CBIA is still not happy with the increase. "This increase in the floor exerts upward pressure in the middle... The reality of this is this is death by a thousand cuts. It's not just minimum wage, it's minimum wage plus all of the other things businesses are contending with."

We want you to join the conversation. Are you a business owner? Or do you work a minimum wage job? What do you think about this debate? 


  

Comments

Listener Email from Jonathan

First of all, $10 or $20 goes a long way at the end of the week to those of us living paycheck to paycheck.

Secondly, I don't why labor is any different than any other aspect of overhead. Companies raise their cost to their customers when fuel costs rise, or when the price of their raw materials rise, be it metal prices or food prices, so why can't they raise the price of their pizza 5 cents so we can get a few more gallons of milk or gas to get to work?