NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – State lawmakers passed two different proposals to raise the minimum wage. The Massachusetts minimum wage is $8 an hour, and hasn’t been adjusted since 2008.
The Senate proposal would raise it to $11. A House proposal raises it to $10.50.
“Let us all have a fair chance. $8. $7, ain’t doing it when rents are high,” said Cookie Burgos of South Hadley.
Minimum wage workers would get the increase, but those who make just above that say it would only bring them closer to the poverty line.
“I think it’s a good idea but I think everybody else should get a raise along with it,” said Sheila Thorn of Turners Falls.
Raising the minimum wage would help many food service employees, but what about business owners? 22News talked to Joe Igneri, the owner of local burger, who said it’s already difficult in this economy to make ends meet.
“A lot of them already make $11 and hour and more. The people who don’t make that, I’d have to raise it up. And what does that mean? I’d have to raise the prices on my products.”
However, others say the extra money would likely be reinvested into the business.
“The people who are getting minimum wage in fast food restaurants would tent to eat there as well. Which means they will eat more and consume more if they are paid more money,” said Gabriel Godwyne.
The differences in the house and senate bills will be hammered out in a conference committee.
Rep. Tom Conroy who supports raising the minimum wage, said that if it kept pace with increases in CEO pay, it would be $62.36 an hour.