The Connecticut House of Representatives passed an amended minimum wage bill on Thursday, lowering the original proposed hike to a 50-cent increase and removing a provision to eventually tie the wage to inflation.
State representatives passed the measure 88-to-62 on Thursday.
On Friday, advocates for raising the minimum wage will deliver a petition with more than 3,000 signatures to state lawmakers.
The revised measure would raise the hourly wage from $8.25 to $8.50 effective Jan. 1, 2013, and to $8.75 on Jan. 1, 2014. It also would increase the hourly wage for wait staff to $5.80 in 2013. The original bill proposed an hourly rate hike to $9.75 by the 2013 date and would have tied an increase to inflation in 2014.
Democrats argue that the current minimum wage, which amounts to about $17,000 per year for full time workers, puts the state’s low-wage employees below the poverty line.
“If you give them a raise in the minimum wage, then it's going to be money that's going to be spent. It's never going to be saved. It's not enough for them to save, therefore it benefits them and the economy,” Sen. Edwin Gomes, a Democrat, said.
Opponents are concerned an increase could discourage employers from hiring more help during a time that the job market is already struggling.
"Only in the state of Connecticut, only in the face of all the activity that's gone on this year, could we actually be voting and passing a bill on a committee that's just going to make lives more difficult," State Rep. Craig Miner, a Republican, said.
The bill now awaits action in the state Senate.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Thursday he supports the changes made by the House.