oined by several business owners, Gov. Peter Shumlin today called on lawmakers to approve a phased-in increase in Vermont's minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017.
The Governor, President Obama and several regional Governors had issued a similar appeal for an increase at the national level, and are supporting an increase in the wage in their respective states.
"Although we are seeing some economic recovery and turnaround, we know that the folks at the bottom are not seeing prosperity," Gov. Shumlin said today at a press conference held at Bear Pond Books, a locally owned store in downtown Montpelier. "Raising the minimum wage will give a boost to many hard-working Vermonters, particularly women, as well as the state's economy."
And, the Governor added, "It's the right thing to do."
Gov. Shumlin said that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour nationally will increase economic activity by providing 28 million Americans with more money to spend and to invest, as well as making workers more productive and therefore helping businesses retain profitability. Women are especially impacted by changes in the minimum wage, accounting for roughly two-thirds of workers whose incomes would rise by increasing the wage to $10.10 an hour.
Here in Vermont, a full-time minimum wage worker now earns $18,000 per year. Under the Governor's proposal that would increase by $3,100 per year.
Regionally, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy has proposed increasing the minimum wage from $8.70 to $10.10 an hour by 2017. Gov. Deval Patrick is supporting efforts to raise the Massachusetts minimum wage, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee has supported a bill in Rhode Island to raise the minimum wage there as well. Other states across the country are also considering bills to raise the minimum wage, although Congressional action on the issue has not moved forward in Washington.