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Malloy, Lyddy Will Wait And See On New State Minimum Wage Proposal



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Malloy, Lyddy Will Wait And See On New State Minimum Wage Proposal

By John Voket

It appears both Newtown State Representative Chris Lyddy and Governor Dannel Malloy are not ready to immediately support a proposal by House Speaker Christopher Donovan and several fellow lawmakers January 31 to increase the state’s minimum wage. Gov Malloy said he plans to watch the debate and then decide whether to ultimately support the proposal offered by Rep Donovan, who is a current candidate for the Fifth District US Congressional seat.

Speaker Donovan said more families are relying on the minimum wage and low-wage jobs to make ends meet. Minimum wage currently pays $330 for a 40-hour workweek.

Contacted by The Bee after the proposal was announced, Rep Lyddy said he had “not fully vetted the idea, but am interested in doing so over the next few months.”

The Newtown lawmaker said he may prefer to wait and see how the new earned income tax credit is working that was just passed.

“I’d also like to examine the possibility [of] indexing the minimum wage right away as opposed to raising the wage now and then indexing it in a few years,” Rep Lyddy said. “We need to look at all possible solutions, but nevertheless, we should have the debate and crunch the numbers.”

Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Gov Malloy, also referenced the earned income credit in his response to the proposal Tuesday, saying the governor has long been a supporter of the minimum wage.

“We must be mindful of the needs of businesses, especially given the current economic climate,” Mr Doba said in a prepared statement. “In the last six months, the governor has signed legislation enacting both a historic, state-based earned income tax credit and paid sick leave — two proposals that will provide a tremendous lift for working families.”

The plan that was unveiled this week would raise the current $8.25 per hour wage to $9 this year and $9.75 next year. Under the proposal, future years would be indexed to keep pace with the rising cost of living, giving employers predictability for their labor costs.

Republican lawmakers, however, say this is the wrong time to raise the wage considering how many businesses are struggling.

The CT Mirror reported the push to pass a new minimum wage law is the first since 2008, when Democrats overrode the veto of then-Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell to approve increases that took effect in 2009 and 2010. The proposed increase would be more than double the bump passed in 2008, when the $7.65 wage rose by 60 cents in two steps, going to $8 in 2009, and $8.25 in 2010.

Speaker Donovan’s news conference came one day after the speaker of the New York Assembly proposed increasing the minimum wage. The Mirror reported that in 2008 a Quinnipiac University poll found that the state’s voters approved the increase, 81 percent to 16 percent. Republicans were in favor, 63 percent to 33 percent.

House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero, Jr, R-Norwalk, said the GOP is likely to be opposed in 2012, even though he and Donovan have talked about the minimum as an area of common ground in Connecticut for Democrats and Republicans. Rep Cafero said he and other GOP leaders may disagree on the timing, saying Connecticut is still in the midst of a devastating recession for Connecticut.

But Rep Cafero admitted he was open to the idea of indexing the minimum wage to inflation. Senator John McKinney, whose district encompasses Newtown, was not planning to issue any comment on the proposal, according to his press aid.

In his response to the idea about raising the minimum wage, Gov Malloy reminded state lawmakers that Connecticut has grown more than 9,000 jobs in the last 13 months, and while that is certainly good news, he realizes “we have a long way to go in making Connecticut a more competitive place to do business. We can’t lose sight of the ultimate goal — creating jobs.”

Associated Press content was used in this report.

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