Labor committee endorses longshot minimum wage raise

The legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee voted along party lines today to endorse increasing the $8.25 minimum wage. That’s the easy part of raising the wage for the first time in three years.

Getting a vote in the Senate and House seems unlikely.

The Senate refused to bring a minimum wage bill to a vote last year, concluding that it was bad for business in a weak economy, and the new House speaker has no interest in taking up the issue this year.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, said today he thinks the timing is bad to raise the wage. His predecessor, Chris Donovan, pushed passage in the House last year.

The committee tried to make the bill more attractive by delaying the effective date. Originally, it would have raised the wage this summer. The revised bill would raise the minimum wage to $9 in 2014 and $9.75 in 2015, then index future raises to inflation.

The minimum wage seldom rises or falls on the merits. It is usually is a question of timing. Do legislators feel they need more to make a gesture to business or labor?