Proposal to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour

22News spoke with some local business owners about the idea.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)- The state’s minimum wage went up to eleven dollars an hour starting this year, but now some groups want to see it go even higher.

Minimum wage went up to $11 an hour at the start of this year, and some have seen a difference. “Kind of a good thing, because it kind of helps people to afford and stimulate the economy by going out and making purchases,” Kristen Bradley, of Agawam said.

Now, community action groups like Raise Up Massachusetts want to see the state increase minimum wage to $15 an hour and are looking to draft a bill this year to make it increase by a dollar over the next four years.  A study by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts found that increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would increase the costs for 70% of businesses, which could lead to less hiring.

Manish Patel, a liquor store owner in Chicopee, said it would certainly make it more difficult to afford an employee that is worth all that money. “To me that’s pretty high to make it a standard, you know somebody with more technical background and stuff like that you know it should be scaled that way saying somebody with more experience or more technical knowledge,” Patel said.

Raise up Massachusetts is also pushing to create an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above one million dollars, with the money going towards public education and transportation.