Mass. minimum wage bill hits a roadblock

BOSTON (WWLP) – The debate to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts is heating up, but the bill is stuck on Beacon Hill. Democrats’ plans to unveil a new proposal were squashed at the last minute.

As lawmakers debate whether to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts, people on the street consider how it would impact their bottom line.

“I think it’s a good thing in the short-term, small business owners are going to get hurt but in the long term the money is just going to go back into the community so I’m all for it,” said Granby’s Patrick Barlow.

House Democrats were supposed to unveil their proposal today – but it didn’t happen after a disagreement between the House and Senate.

Instead, the House chairman of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development abruptly opened and shut down the committee’s executive session without unveiling any legislation.

Rep. Tom Conroy faulted the Senate for refusing to agree to the House’s request for an extension and left the room without taking questions.

Their planned proposal was to increase the minimum wage from the $8.00 it is now to $10.50 by July of 2016.

It would also freeze unemployment insurance rates for the next four years and reward businesses with low employee turnover while also reforming the state’s unemployment insurance system.

The state senate has already passed a plan of its own they want to raise the minimum wage to 11.00 an hour over the next 3 years.

Peter Soule, the owner of Durocher Florist in West Springfield told 22News they have a few employees they’d have to pay more but he’d like to see the real impact in the form of more business.

“It could translate into more business I mean we are in a luxury business, you don’t have to buy flowers to survive, although we think you do, but it could translate into more business, it depends how people want to spend their money,” Soule said.

Some residents say while they’d like to see people making more money, they’re afraid everything else will only get more expensive.

“Most of it is a good thing. Most people are not making enough. But, it’s no use if you raise the minimum wage but you increase the cost of living and other things,” said Springfield’s Ramon Rivera.

It’s unclear when the House will present their proposal now, if at all.

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