Compromise still needed on minimum wage bills

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Two bills have been passed that would raise the state minimum wage, but so far, no compromise has been made in Boston.

The two bills need to become one, which takes a committee of both house and senate lawmakers. Meantime there’s still debate on whether or not it’s a good idea.

The Massachusetts minimum wage is $8 an hour. A house bill would raise it to $10.50. A senate bill would make it $11.

The final bill still need to be hammered out, with many people hoping something can get done before the legislature breaks for the Summer on July 31st.

“$10.50 to $11. I think that would be a good range. I think its hard for people living on minimum wage to cover all of their expenses,” said Linda Fontaine of South Deerfield.

However, not everyone agrees. Amherst is a college town. A business manager told 22News off camera, they loose out on revenue when the students go home.

“I don’t know if it should be raised to $10. Maybe a smaller increment. I think it could hurt business. If you force businesses to pay $10, where’s that money going to come from?” Asked Josh Levey of Amherst.

At the Black Sheep Deli, Nick Seamon, the owner, told 22News he doesn’t have a problem raising the minimum wage, as long as it’s statewide, and on a level playing field.

“As long as its a level playing field with all the towns and its not town by town. I think it’s a great idea. My staff work hard and they deserve it,” said Seamon.

You may remember that Amherst town meeting members recently had the chance to approve a proposed town minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. It was voted down.

The minimum wage conference committee is expected to meet for the first time either tomorrow or early next week.

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