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$9 Minimum Wage Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

An employee who makes $8 per hour grosses $16,640 annually if working 40 hours a week all 52 weeks of the year. At $9 an hour, that total increases to $18,720.

With approval in the House Wednesday, the General Assembly has raised Rhode Island’s minimum wage to $9 per hour beginning Jan. 1. The legislation will now head to the governor’s office.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Erin P. Lynch and Rep. David A. Bennett, will provide minimum wage workers a $1-per-hour raise over the current state minimum wage, $8. The sponsors say the legislation is meant to assist those at the bottom of the wage scale, as well as those making somewhat more, in a state with a high cost of living.

“Supporting yourself and your family in Rhode Island when you make minimum wage is extremely difficult. Those trying to support a family of three or more on it are living below the federal poverty line. This raise will provide some measure of assistance for those struggling at the low end of the pay scale, but our larger goal is to move wages up for all Rhode Islanders by moving the starting point. Our entire economy suffers when the middle class and low-wage earners can’t make ends meet,” said Representative Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston).

Said Senator Lynch (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston), “If you put more money in people’s pockets, they spend, especially those living in or near poverty. They will put it right back into our economy buying the things their families need, supporting local businesses. When a great deal of people don’t have enough, they aren’t the only ones suffering. The small local shops that need their business are hurt, too. We’ve lost far too many of those businesses since the recession, and more money in the pocket of average Rhode Islanders will help prevent us from losing more, while helping families struggling to put food on the table and to pay the rent.”

An employee who makes $8 per hour grosses $16,640 annually if working 40 hours a week all 52 weeks of the year. At $9 an hour, that total increases to $18,720.

Representative Bennett and Senator Lynch were also the sponsors of successful legislation last year that changed Rhode Island’s minimum wage from $7.75 to $8 in 2014.

When introduced, their 2014 legislation (2014-H 7194A, 2014-S 2249A) included provisions for an additional $1 raise effective Jan. 1, 2016, with the minimum wage indexed to rise at the rate of inflation at the beginning of every subsequent year. Those provisions were removed during the legislative process in order to win passage of a raise this year.

In neighboring Massachusetts, lawmakers are expected to pass legislation today to raise their minimum wage from $8 to $11 per hour by 2017, with $1 increases each Jan. 1, until that year. That would mean both states’ minimums would match at $9 in 2015. Earlier this year, Connecticut enacted a law to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017.


Leave RI June 19, 2014 at 04:20 PM
Stinkin Lincoln is going to sign something? Get him a crayon and make sure he stays in the lines.
PMarandola June 20, 2014 at 12:30 PM
@Leave RI lol great response!
Ralph June 24, 2014 at 10:47 AM
Minimum wage is a joke! We had minimum wage put i place to give a head-start to people entering the work force, it wasn't designed to support a family. You enter the workforce and get the experience to grow within your chosen occupation not just wait around for the government to give you a raise!
PMarandola June 25, 2014 at 11:43 AM
@Ralph sadly most employers only use Temp labor therefore the only raise the people get is from the government! 99% of the agency's pay themselves nicely & NEVER reward the workers. I see it all day long! PIGS GET FAT HOGS GET SLAUGHTERED!
Ralph June 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Employers are hiring temps is due to our great government not allowing small business to plan ahead and loading them down with new laws and regulations making it more profitable to hire temps and not pay for medical benefits etc! Minimum wage will not change that but a change in idiots sent to Washington will help!

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