News

Massachusetts raises minimum wage to highest in U.S.

Massachusetts raises minimum wage to highest in U.S.

MONEY:It will raise the state's minimum wage in stages from its current level of $8 per hour and follows similar moves by neighboring Connecticut and Vermont. Photo: clipart.com

By Elizabeth Barber

BOSTON (Reuters) – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is scheduled on Thursday to sign into law a measure raising the minimum wage to the highest of any U.S. state, $11 per hour, by 2017.

The move will come as U.S. Democrats nationally are trying to make the minimum wage a key issue ahead of midterm congressional elections in November, framing the effort as a quest of conscience on behalf of the millions of Americans living on wages that have not kept up with rising costs of living.

A spokeswoman for Patrick said he would sign the bill at 11 a.m.

It will raise the state’s minimum wage in stages from its current level of $8 per hour and follows similar moves by neighboring Connecticut and Vermont.

The first minimum wage increase in Massachusetts since 2008 is expected to benefit some 500,000 workers statewide, said state Representative Thomas Conroy, who is a Democrat like Patrick.

“A lot of these folks are really struggling on the margins and they deserve a raise,” Conroy said. “It’s one small step toward addressing an income inequality issue that I think so many Americans are finding really frustrating.”

The law does not include provisions to tie minimum wage increases after 2017 to inflation, which Patrick had sought.

Some Republican state legislators had backed an increase to $9.50 over three years, saying that a more modest raise would put less of a burden on the state’s businesses.

“We realize the impact that raising the wage is going to have on the business community,” said Gina McLaughlin, policy analyst for state Representative Brad Jones, who voted against the bill.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s effort to raise the nation’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour failed to win support in either the Republican-controlled House of Representatives or the Democratic-controlled Senate, with opponents saying an increase would cost jobs.

In the absence of federal action, states have gone ahead with their own legislation to up entry-level wages. Vermont will raise its minimum to $10.50 per hour by 2018, with Connecticut, Hawaii and Maryland all moving toward a $10.10 minimum.

The District of Columbia earlier this year adopted an $11.50 minimum, to take effect in 2016, and Seattle’s city council voted this month to raise its minimum to $15 an hour over the next seven years.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Bill Trott)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Browns not ready to name starting quarterback

Fresh
Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine watches his team during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Landover, Md.

Browns coach Mike Pettine's decision became tougher after Hoyer and Manziel played poorly in an exhibition loss at Washington on Monday night.

in Local Sports

Iwakuma fans season-high 11, Mariners top Phillies 

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Friday, June 20, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.

Hisashi Iwakuma pitches a gem and Kyle Seager homered to lead the Seattle Mariners to a victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night.

in Sports

NY Islanders owner announces sale

FILE - This is an Oct. 24, 2012, file photo, showing New York Islanders owner Charles Wang addressing the media during a press conference at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. The New York Islanders have announced that the team is being sold to a former Washington Capitals co-owner and a London-based investor. In a statement Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, the team says a group led by former Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin has reached an agreement to buy a "substantial" minority interest in the team.

The New York Islanders have announced that the team is being sold to a former Washington Capitals co-owner and a London-based investor.

in Sports

Veteran NBA ref Bavetta retires after 39 years

FILE - In this April 2, 2014, file photo, official Dick Bavetta watches during a free throwt during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets in New York. Bavetta is retiring after a 39-year career in which he never missed an assignment. NBA president Rod Thorn says Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in a statement that the league is "grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement."

NBA referee Dick Bavetta is retiring after a 39-year career in which he never missed an assignment.

in Sports

Gibbs hires Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez

Joe Gibbs, right, speaks as drivers Daniel Suarez, left, Carl Edwards, second from left, and J.D. Gibbs, second from right, laugh during a news conference at Joe Gibbs Racing's headquarters in Huntersville, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Joe Gibbs Racing has hired Carl Edwards to drive a new fourth Sprint Cup car in 2015 and Daniel Suarez will drive in the Nationwide series.

Joe Gibbs Racing has hired Carl Edwards to drive a new fourth Sprint Cup car in 2015.