Updated: Thursday, 31 Jan 2013, 8:40 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 31 Jan 2013, 8:40 PM EST
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- It's been two years since Connecticut saw a minimum wage hike but now there's a new push to get that movement going again.
Labor advocates want the minimum wage hiked by one dollar and fifty cents over the next two years.
"Caeser, a talented meat cutter who has worked in a New Haven supermarket for over ten years. He makes minimum wage and the only raises he has seen in ten years are when the minimum wage have gone up," said Kerri Hoehne, United Food and Commercial.
At the State Capitol, advocates of Senate Bill 387 spoke out on Thursday. They say an increase in minimum wage is necessary to help people struggling to get by.
"Raising the minimum wage will enable me to earn enough to fund my education, invest in my future, finish school, and become a productive member of Connecticut's workforce," said Asia Avery.
The bill suggests the state up the minimum by seventy-five cents an hour for the next two years bringing the rate to $9 on July first and then $9.75 in 2014.
Similar legislation was proposed last year but that failed to pass and those that oppose the increase say Connecticut's problems are much bigger than the minimum wage.
The cost of living here in Connecticut ranks highest in the 48 contiguous states. They say the government's focus should be on making life more affordable.
"We're paying the highest gas tax, the highest car tax, the highest property tax, the highest income tax and that's what's making us poor," said J.R. Romano, Americans for Prosperity.
Many of the state's minimum wage workers are employed by large companies like McDonald's, Walmart, and Target but small business owners are also cutting costs and jobs to make ends meet.
Jay Kamins is for the increase and says he's always paid his employees well.
"Not investing in your employees, not making sure that their success and your success are tied together and that you have a relationship, it's bad business practice," said Kamins.
Some lawmakers say increase or not, something's gotta give.
"I have constituents that are working two or three jobs just to be able to make what they do and be able to pay their rent and take care of their families. Something's wrong. Something is terribly wrong," said one man.