BOSTON (WWLP) – Minimum wage and unemployment insurance reform legislation passed the Senate floor Thursday afternoon that would raise minimum wage to $11.
It has been a long struggle for the Massachusetts House and Senate to pass unemployment insurance reform and minimum wage legislation. The Senate passed a version of the House’s bill that combined two issues that impact small businesses.
“This is the Senate Ways and Means version of the bill. We’d like to get it done. We’d like to come out of here tonight with an 11-dollar minimum wage for the folks in the Commonwealth here,” said Wilbraham Democrat Gale Candaras.
The Senate agreed to raise minimum wage to $11 by 2016 and then tie it to inflation. Westfield Republican Don Humason, Jr. is concerned with raising minimum wage. He believes the legislature should create an earned income tax credit instead.
“That way the employers don’t get hit with having to pay more money, but those employees could still benefit when they pay their taxes and get more money back,” said Senator Humason.
Other senators argue that creating an earned income tax credit will not help low income families. The bill would also raise an employer’s taxable wage base from $14,000 to $21,000.
The Senate’s version of the bill is expected to move into conference committee, which will hammer out differences between the two parties.