SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The debate continues on Beacon Hill, how much businesses should pay the lowest-earning workers in the state.
For the first time since 2008, state lawmakers are seriously considering a bill to raise the $8 an hour minimum wage. Senator Gale Candaras said, “It’s been years since we raised the minimum wage.”
However, the question remains: by how much?
The House version calls for increasing the state minimum wage to $10.50 an hour without tying it to the rate of inflation. The Senate version calls for an even higher minimum wage, $11 an hour, with ties to inflation.
No matter the version, if approved and signed by the governor, the wage hike will take effect gradually over the next two or three years.
“I think it will have a good impact. It’ll just take a while until all the businesses and everybody gets adjusted to it,” Lorenzo Gardner of Springfield told 22News.
How small businesses will afford the higher wage is a big concern for many people.
Norman Levesque of Feeding Hills said, “They might be making more money, but I think the cost is going to go up for everybody else. ((Small businesses?)) Yes. So I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not.”
Senator Don Humason said, “The more expensive it is per employee, the less likely it is that employers are going to hire people. That’s exactly what we want to avoid and want to make sure that our employers feel comfortable hiring new people.”
A conference committee will now review the two versions and try to come up with one proposal. Just over the state line, Connecticut lawmakers voted in March to increase their minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.