HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State leaders remind employers that Connecticut’s minimum wage will increase by a dollar next week.
Workers have been fighting to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for more than a decade. In a week, it will be the law. Top state officials held a press conference at the capitol.
“The minimum wage will be going up to $15 an hour as of June 1,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D-Connecticut).
For small businesses like the Carvel Ice Cream store in Milford, that means paying out significantly more money.
“You can’t cut down on help,” explained store owner Mike Arnone. “You have to have a certain amount of people to take care of the customers that come in.”
Rising wages are something employers have been slowly dealing with since October 2019. Since then, the state’s minimum wage has increased by a dollar every 11 months.
“And then we have to raise our prices, which has been a vicious circle for the last four or five years,” Arnone said.
Increasing the minimum wage is a promise on which Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Connecticut) and many Democrats ran. The governor said his fellow business owners objected, but he had a message for them.
“If the way you’re making money is on the backs of people, not paying them a decent wage, you’re a lousy business person,” said Lamont of the detractors. “You’re dead wrong on that.”
Things got tough for minimum wage workers as prices rose during the pandemic.
“But I’m very confident that one of the things that helped families get through was having an increase in the minimum wage,” said State Sen. Julie Kushner (D-Danbury).
The fight may have been for $15, but many say $15 is still not a livable wage in Connecticut.
“Most people are working two or three jobs at minimum wage,” said State Rep. Robyn Porter (D- New Haven). “So, we still need to solve that issue and the housing affordability issue in Connecticut.”
The minimum wage is set to go up again Jan. 1, 2024. State officials say how much it goes up will be based on inflationary factors.