Several states, including Maryland, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, are considering raising the minimum wage to $10.10—a number President Obama has pushed for on a federal level—but Connecticut is the first to make it happen. The bill was passed with back-to-back votes yesterday, mostly along predictable partisan lines, and will see the minimum wage climb from $8.70 to $10.10 by 2017, the Hartford Courant reports. "This modest increase will give working families a boost, and it will contribute to our economy by getting just a little more money into the pockets of people who will spend it in their communities," says Gov. Dannel Malloy, who is expected to sign the bill into law today.
In what the Courant calls "a sign of the importance of the measure to the White House," Obama released this statement: "I hope members of Congress, governors, state legislators, and business leaders across our country will follow Connecticut's lead." The vote has certainly cleared the way. "I think the significance cannot be overstated for this," a policy analyst tells the AP. As we see movement on a state level, "that's always an ingredient for momentum at the federal level as well." Republicans, however, say the move will make Connecticut uncompetitive, and the Connecticut Restaurant Association adds, "restaurateurs will be forced to cut back on staff or increase menu prices—neither are easy decisions." (Read more Connecticut stories.)