Labor and Public Employees Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-387

Title:

AN ACT INCREASING THE MINIMUM FAIR WAGE.

Vote Date:

2/28/2013

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

1/31/2013

File No.:

49

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Senator Osten 19th District

Representative Tercyak 26th District

Sen. Martin M. Looney, 11th Dist.

The Labor and Public Employee Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To provide Connecticut residents with a livable income that is connected to the Consumer Price Index.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

The new language changes the effective dates from July 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014 and changes July 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Permanent Commission of the Status of Women testified in support of the bill stating it would assist families to remain self-sufficient and allow wages to keep pace with the real cost of living in Connecticut.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Senator Martin Looney 11th Distrcit, testified in support of the bill. He said “the cost of living is high in Connecticut and workers who earn minimum wage should not be asked to bear a disproportionate share of the burden in our sluggish economy.” He also proposed some substitute language which changed the effective dates.

Jodey Lazsrus supports the bill and points out that as a single mother of two she faces many hardships. According to an article in Bloomberg Business Week, Connecticut holds the second largest income gap in the country. This gap is growing faster than any other state in our nation.

Patrice Peterson, President CSEA SIEU Local 2001, supports raising the minimum wage. He says simple economics tells us that when you put more money into the pockets of working men and women they will spend it in their communities.

Nicole Bortolan submitted testimony in favor of the bill. As a student in a Master's program, I am concerned about finding a job and making ends meet.

Nicholas Rinaldi submitted testimony in favor of the bill, citing that the minimum wage is too low for the current economic times.

Douglas Hall, Economic Policy Institute, testified in support of the bill. Historically Connecticut has been one of the nation's leaders but Washington, Oregon and Vermont now has minimum wages that are higher than Connecticut. EPI's analysis show that in the first year of the increase 99,000 will be directly helped by an increase in minimum wage and another 62,000 workers will indirectly benefit.

Jeannette Wicks, Political Economy Research Institute testified on the impact of minimum wage increases over the last ten years. Historically a minimum wage increase of this size typically imposes a cost increase in the range of two-tenths of one or in other words a $20 item would then cost $20.04. For restaurants a $20.00 meal would then cost $20.20. When workers get a raise they tend to stay at the job longer and business will not need to replace workers who have left. This saves on training and recruiting costs. These savings will offset each other. The current minimum wage hike will not cost jobs because the increases are modest.

Miles Olson submitted testimony in favor of the bill, stating people work hard and are still at poverty level. This bill would help families in need.

The Smith Family supports the bill and feels that this bill will give a boost to families in need.

T. Anderson supports raising the minimum wage to provide more for families. Working for the minimum wage leaves people in poverty.

Stephanie B. Grikas submitted testimony supporting the bill and feels it will help grow our economy.

Ruth Vigil submitted testimony supporting the bill, stating that in the end we will all benefit. If people had more money in their pockets, they could spend more in the community.

Michelle Coddington supports this bill because many families are struggling to make ends meet.

Michael Cella supports this bill and feels that as a family man one could not make ends meet on the current minimum wage.

Matthew Jentsen submitted testimony supporting the bill. As a high school student the present minimum wage makes it difficult to help save for college.

Matt Anastasio supports raising the minimum wage because it is critical to sustain and revitalize our local economy.

Mary Attanasio supports raising the minimum wage to help aid families that are struggling to make ends meet.

Lynne Witowski supports the bill, stating it is impossible for anyone to survive on the current minimum wage.

Linda Olson supports raising the minimum wage so that people will have more money to spend.

LaReese Harvey, A Better Way Foundation submitted testimony supporting the bill, stating that a fair living wage will decrease the number of poor in our state and those in need of social services.

Kim Twerdy submitted testimony in support of the bill and feels that as one of the wealthier states our minimum wage is pathetic.

Keri Hoehne, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 371 testified in favor of the bill, citing that to many Connecticut workers are falling further and further behind working for minimum wage.

Kelly Carey submitted testimony in support of the bill stating that eight other states have raised their minimum wage in 2013 and Connecticut should follow suite.

Liz Dupont-Diehl, Connecticut Association for Human Services testified that increasing the minimum wage is critical and within our reach.

Stacey Zimmerman SEIU testified in support of the bill and said people should not live in poverty and now is the time to raise the minimum wage. It is an obligation to defend the ability of a worker to earn a fair days pay for a fair days work.

Margot Dorfman, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce testified in support of the bill, stating that local businesses should support raising the minimum wage because of the extra money it would give to the lowest paid workers. These workers will be spending the extra money immediately in the local economy.

Katie Redfern submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage.

Kathy Campbell submitted testimony in support of the bill, stating that children are our future and their basic needs are not met, raising the minimum wage is crucial at this time.

Karin Backofen submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage on behalf of her family and the other honest workers.

Brian Anderson, AFSCME, testified in support of the bill, stating the goal of minimum wage is to take people out of poverty. Historically our economy has been the envy of the world because it has a strong consumption based economy. The latest federal census shows that 50% of Americans are between working poor and indigent. This minimum wage increase is badly needed.

John Kidwell, submitted testimony supporting the bill, stating we need to take care of the people and not just the big corporations.

Jim Jamieson, MD-PhD, submitted testimony saying Connecticut's minimum wage has not risen in 5 years and now is the time.

Jennifer Conklin submitted testimony saying raising the minimum wage at this time is crucial for families to survive in the current economy.

Jennifer Allison submitted testimony stating that it is virtually impossible for an individual, never mind a family, to survive at the current minimum wage without assistance. Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do.

Wilfred Sawren submitted testimony saying that it gets harder and harder for our young people to make enough money to pay for the basic needs. Please raise the minimum wage to an acceptable level.

Walter Ricci testified raising the minimum wage would benefit the Rocky Hill and greater Hartford area from increase purchases and revenue.

Vivian Dorfman submitted testimony stating that as a new mother who makes more than minimum wage all the expenses add up quickly.

Tracy Papa submitted testimony supporting raising the minimum wage. Raising a family off of $300 a week is not enough.

Kimberly Glalssman, Foundation for Fair Contracting of Connecticut testified in support of the bill stating as a non-profit organization Connecticut workers should be paid a sustaining wage.

Jennifer Smith, SEIU, testified in support for the bill stating the majority of jobs that pay low wages are “service” jobs that are vital to our economy and our way of life yet, 80% are adults and many are women. Working 40 hours at minimum wage is only $17,160 a year, more than $2,000 below the federal poverty limit. It is time to show low-wage workers true respect and dignity by raising the minimum wage.

Lisa Rogers, Norwalk Housing Authority, testified that if you increase the minimum wage it would increase a 40 hour workers salary by $1000 annually and could help that worker better make ends meet.

James Bhandary-Alexander, New Haven Legal Assistance Association, testified for the bill stating the minimum wage in 1968 was $1.60 per/hour which is $10.58 in today's dollars. Raising the minimum wage is important to try and close the gap between low-wage workers.

Bob King, UAW, spoke in favor of the raising of minimum wage. He said raising the minimum wage is responsible and meets the needs of our state's younger and lower wage workers. The current minimum wage is not a living wage and should be raised.

Lori Pelletier, Connecticut AFL-CIO, testified in support of the bill stating raising the minimum wage would add money into the economy because minimum wage earners spend all their earnings in the community.

Douglas Ramsey submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage. The current minimum wage is just not enough to live on in Connecticut.

Connecticut Working Families testified that this bill will help more than 106,000 workers out of a pattern of earning poverty wages. Nearly 21 percent of Connecticut residents live at or near the poverty line. Increasing the minimum wage will be a healthy start in lifting those workers out of the poverty level.

Doug Wade, Wade's Dairy testified in support of the bill. Wade's Dairy has been in the family for four generations and with forty seven employees it is important that they are paid a fair livable wage. Minimum wage laws have been in place since 1938 and they have not kept up with inflation. This bill will help protect human rights and we are pricing the American Dream out of reach for the average family. It is time we do the right thing and put the American Dream back into focus.

Denise Lewis submitted testimony stating, with several workers living below the poverty level we need to raise the minimum wage so that they can earn a decent living.

Daniel Scribeno submitted testimony supporting the bill stating as a minimum wage worker it is hard to be independent and live on my own.

Eric Kiesewetter submitted testimony in support of the bill stating families are having a hard time paying their bills. Unless they make more money they will need assistance from the state and towns.

Emily Gil submitted testimony supporting the bill stating the middle class is getting closer to the poverty level.

Elizabeth Dell submitted testimony stating raising the minimum wage would keep pace with the economy.

Frank Buebe submitted testimony supporting the bill stating at the present minimum wage parents can't provide the basic needs for their children.

Ginger Whalen submitted testimony saying that raising the minimum wage at this time is the right thing to do. It will make more people independent and less dependent on state aid.

Jay Kamins, Website Design and Marketing, testified that as an owner of a small web site design since 1999 he believes raising the minimum wage is absolutely the right thing to do. It would be financial suicide and unethical if my staff made anything less than an actual living wage. Paying someone minimum wage would cause that person to have to work a second job. Eventually that person would be exhausted, unmotivated, and unproductive.

Sharonlynn Lenaehan submitted testimony supporting the bill saying there are currently so many families unable to make ends meet. Raising the minimum wage would help aid the communities in revitalizing their towns.

Roger Babbith submitted testimony saying the legislator should raise the minimum wage to at least $9.00 an hour.

Robert Rizzo submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage to help sustain and revitalize our local economy.

Peter Lirot submitted testimony stating that he is in support of raising the minimum wage.

Patricia Watrous submitted testimony urging the legislator to pass this bill. As one of the highest cost of living states in the country we need to raise the minimum wage to remain competitive and avoid people from moving out of state.

Patricia Ehrhardt submitted testimony saying Connecticut is one of the highest cost of living states in the country and a family needs more than $290.00 per week to feed and clothe their family.

Nick DeFalippo testified that as the owner of a small remodeling business he is in favor of raising the minimum wage to help boost the economy.

Mrs. Hans Fruendorf said he supports raising the minimum wage. The financial impact for people receiving minimum wage is unbelievable.

Michael Fisher submitted testimony supporting raising the minimum wage.

Melissa Peters submitted testimony in favor of raising the minimum wage because the cost of living has increased. It does not give kids a chance to journey out in the world on their own.

Matt Santacroce, Connecticut Voices for Children, submitted testimony supporting the bill. They strongly support both raising the minimum wage and indexing it to the rate of inflation. Since 1979 median wage earners have seen their wages only increasing by 21 percent but the minimum wage has only increased by 9 percent. Connecticut needs to ensure that its minimum wage keeps up with the cost of living.

Mary Binkowski supports raising the minimum wage because it is shameful that in our state we have children that go to bed hungry.

Mrs. Smith submitted testimony in support of this bill. After working in Hartford for 22 years I believe this bill would help families and will also revitalize the local economy.

Cynthia Thresher submitted testimony saying that raising the minimum wage to help families meet ends

Chris Covey submitted testimony in favor of the increasing the minimum wage. The cost of living has risen dramatically and it is very tough to keep up living on the minimum wage.

Catherine Luker supports raising the minimum wage because there are too many families struggling to make ends meet.

Carissa Sfakios submitted testimony in strong support of the bill because people that are employed full-time should not be faced with extreme poverty.

Berty Postin submitted testimony in favor of raising the minimum wage. There are too many struggling families and this is the right thing to do.

Ann Marie Shattnch supports raising the minimum wage. By increasing workers income, they will spend more money in their communities.

Andrew Parfitt supports raising the minimum wage for our working families.

Adelio Magnaguagns supports the bill stating that as a person with only social security and a part time job raising the minimum wage would help.

Thomas Rolfe supports raising the minimum wage to help families live above the poverty line.

The Clark Family supports this bill. In these tough economic times it is difficult to make a living. As a young mother, my husband has to work two jobs to make ends meet.

Wayne Pucke supports this bill saying it would be easier to raise wages so that they can provide the basic needs for their families.

Vivian Pappas submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage. A full time worker cannot make ends on just minimum wage.

Paul Rapanault, Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut testified in support of the bill saying this bill will help workers earn a more equitable wage.

Tony Santos submitted testimony in full support of raising the minimum wage. Giving individuals a raise would make them less dependent on state aid.

Laurie Pipke submitted testimony that raising the minimum wage is critical to sustaining and revitalizing our economy.

Laurel Scott a Christian minster testified in support of the bill stating basic math tells us that if the CPI rises we need to raise the minimum wage. If not the poor become poorer even as they continue to work.

Keith O'Connell submitted testimony supporting the bill saying as the cost of living continues to rise so should our wages.

Katie Hoffman submitted testimony saying that living in Connecticut is very expensive and increasing the minimum wage will help families

Kathleen Dubay submitted testimony that the minimum wage has not risen in 5 years yet we have the highest cost of living.

Karen Schuessler,Citizens for Economic Opportunity testified in support of raising the minimum wage because it is not just an issue of justice and fairness but also economic common sense.

Judith Stearns submitted testimony in support of the bill. Many families are struggling to make ends meet living off of minimum wage; this would help those in need.

Arnie Waszkelewicz submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage. No one can live off of just minimum wage.

Rev. Joshua Mason Pawelek submitted testimony supporting the bill. There are approximately 106,000 workers earning minimum wage and this is simply not enough money for an individual to procure all of life's necessities.

Jonathan Monty-Carbonari submitted testimony that this is the right thing to do in these hard times and it would be beneficial to all.

John Hambon submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage. The current economic condition does not allow a family to live off of minimum wage.

John Barrett, Barrett Outdoor Communications submitted testimony for this long overdue increase of the minimum wage. As a family business owner since 1962, we believe that there is a social contract with our employees and their families. We base our wage structure on the MIT Living Wage Calculator and our starting wages falls between the New Haven County wage for a single adult and a single adult with one child. We believe that our employees should not struggle to make ends meet and an overworked employee with multiple jobs does not provide good customer service or reliable quality work.

Jennifer Britton spoke in support of raising the minimum wage. As an immigrant, a mother, and now a grandmother, who makes $9.62 an hour with no benefits, I sometimes have to decide between putting food on the table and paying a bill. Minimum wage needs to keep pace with inflation. Increase the minimum wage now because working people are hurting.

Jen and Joe Grinda submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage because families that only make minimum wage are living below the poverty line. An extra dollar would go a long way.

Jeannette Brown supports raising the minimum wage because Connecticut is one of the highest cost of living states in the country. Eight other states have raised their minimum wage in 2013.

Januse Klin supports this bill and states please stand up for families and raise the minimum wage.

James and Barbara Catlin states that raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do in these hard times and would benefit all of us in the long run.

Nick Filipppo testified that he is behind the current campaign to raise the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would be a good start in giving our economy a boost.

Franco Buonanna submitted testimony in favor of raising the minimum wage. In 1973 I was making $7.00 an hour and am surprised that the minimum wage now is only $8.25. We should give more to the people so that they can provide for their families.

Erin Grenier submitted testimony to please raise the minimum wage for single mothers. It is impossible to raise a family on such a low wage.

Donald Gondek Jr testified that as a self- employed painting contractor in Glastonbury the minimum wage should be raised to help families keep up with today's higher cost of living.

Deanna Kluk supports raising the minimum wage to help revitalize North Branford and the surrounding business. Raising the minimum wage would bring many people above the poverty.

David Burke testified that it is impossible for a family to live on minimum wage. we need to support working families by raising the minimum wage in Connecticut.

Charles and Joan Kopin submitted testimony supporting the increase in minimum wage because it would act as an incentive to those on state aid.

Cathy Ciotti Lynch supports raising the minimum wage. As a woman with three children, working at minimum wage is a struggle just to meet the most basic financial responsibilities. Raising the minimum wage would allow working families to be more financially independent.

Catherine Daly and Roy Dion wrote in supporting the bill saying the proposed increases are modest in terms of the economic burden on employers and it will go a long way in helping to support families.

Aisa Avery sent testimony in support of the bill. As a full time student and a part-time kitchen assistant making minimum wage I am just able to afford the basics. Raising the minimum wage will enable me to earn enough to fund my education and become a productive member of Connecticut's workforce.

Alekasander Kocaqu supports raising the minimum wage. Many families are struggling because $8.25 an hour is not enough to support a family.

Kim Brown submitted testimony in support of raising the minimum wage. When employers pay a higher wage, employees have more flexible income to spend in their community.

National Association of Social Workers of Connecticut submitted testimony in favor of the bill. Many social workers deal with hardworking employees on a daily basis and these people can't seem to make ends meet at such a low wage.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities urged the Committee to properly examine the impact this bill would have on municipal budgets as local officials are struggling with layoffs and budget cuts.

Connecticut Council of Small Towns testified in opposition to this bill stating it raised cost to the towns create concerns about town program offerings and fees may have to be increased in order to compensate.

Representative Dave Rutigliano testified in opposition to the bill stating Connecticut is one of the most expensive states of the countries. Due to Hurricane Sandy many insurance companies have raised their insurance prices by 25% to businesses. The restaurant industry as a whole has been through tough times along with their customers. Restaurants can't afford to pay serves more who already earn more than minimum wage because of gratuity. This bill will only increase the cost of doing business and will have more negative impacts than intended.

Representative Anthony J. D'Amelio testified in opposition of the bill. Quassy amusement park would see a 150,000 rise in their payroll cost inadvertently putting them out of business. Half of all minimum wage earners are under the age of 25. This bill is the kind that does little to help the state and will only hurt Connecticut. It will compete against other states with lower minimum wage

David McCoart, Sage American Grill & Oyster Bar testified that this bill would cost an additional $3500 of payroll. Workers Compensation has increases along with beef prices and raising the minimum wage would greatly hurt our business.

New England Convenience Store Association submitted testimony opposing the bill. Allowing the minimum wage to increase every time the cost of living grows would be harmful to our industry. Convenience stores operate at a very small profit margin and this would cost retailers thousands of dollars in additional taxes and salaries to their employees.

Philip Barnett ,The Hartford Restaurant Group testified that if passes this bill would devastate the restaurant industry and many restaurants would be forced to close. With higher energy costs, insurance cost, higher workers compensation costs, the higher minimum wage would cause many restaurants to let workers go to compensate their increase in cost.

J R Romano, Americans for Prosperity testified that while increasing minimum wage may sound good, statistics bear out that it will lead to severe consequences and actually hurt those that it sets out to help. In the absence of a minimum wage, workers are able to negotiate with their employers their own wage. Increasing minimum wage tends to increase unemployment by inflating labor costs resulting in fewer hires.

Tim Adams, J. Timothy's Tavern testified against raising the minimum wage. As owner of J. Timothy's Tavern for 33 years, the constant increases in minimum wage, expanding taxes and regulatory constraints on small businesses only serves to destroy businesses that provide the opportunities for workers to prosper.

Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. Increasing the minimum wage will make it very difficult for many small businesses to remain open. The negative economic impact on struggling industries will be felt at a time when all businesses and the state's fragile economy can least afford it. With the state's high level of unemployment this is the wrong time to mandate large wage increases.

Mark DiChiara, Gateway Limousine submitted testimony against increasing the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour will increase my payroll by $56,100.00 a year and by passing this bill it will send a message to current small business to leave the state.

Laurie Beth Keller submitted testimony against raising the minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage will increase the likelihood of another layoff which means less cash flow to the rest of the state.

Josh Esses submitted testimony against raising the minimum wage stating businesses can't operate if their cost increase and it would force employers to lay off workers causing higher unemployment.

John DiCarlo, Waterbury Regional Chamber testified against the bill because it would create another obstacle to our regions efforts to no longer have the state's highest unemployment rate.

Patrick Ranaudo submitted testimony against raising the minimum wage.

Jack Muirhead submitted testimony opposing the bill. This legislature is crushing small business and by increasing the minimum wage it will diminish the employee who worked hard to earn a raise and now are at the same rate as new employees.

Jean Lecours testified that business in the state is suffering enough and raising the minimum wage will result in fewer jobs and less expansion of businesses.

Stan Sorkin, Connecticut Food Association testified against the bill. This is not the time to increase the minimum wage because of the affect it will have on Connecticut's grocery industry. With paid sick leave, increase in worker's compensation costs, and high energy costs, this would just add one more increase that may leave a lot of business with the only recourse but to close their doors.

Rory Ronan submitted testimony that raising the minimum wage is bad for business and therefore bad for workers.

C.O.S.T, Marshall R Collins submitted testimony that this bill would not create one job and would increase the already high cost of living and doing business in Connecticut.

Connecticut Lodging Association testified in staunch opposition to increasing the minimum wage. The hotel business has already suffered two serious economic blows with the hotel tax increase and Paid Sick Leave. Proposing an 18% increase in wages over two years would harm the lodging business which would result in layoffs.

Brian Casey, Ninety-Nine Restaurants testified against the bill. With 11 restaurants in the state and over 550 hourly employees, raising the minimum wage would significantly hurt all the restaurants and force businesses owners to reduce current labor and staffing levels.

Beckett & Associates Veterinary Services opposes raising the minimum wage. As the owner of a veterinary practice and a farm, I consider the minimum wage as a training wage to start students who seriously want to work in veterinary medicine. If you raise the minimum wage it will make it difficult to continue to employee them and cover them with worker's compensation.

Van Brown submitted testimony that raising the minimum wage would severely impact the thin margins farmers now maintain. It would discourage us from new hires and to reconsider our current employees.

Connecticut Child Care Association testified against raising the minimum wage. The current proposal of an 18% increase and indexing future raises to the CPI would impose a severe financial hardship on child care providers.

Irene Pia, Chili's Grill & Bar testified against the bill. With more than 19 restaurants and 1400 employees, this raise is not realistic and would force multiple closures and a loss of hundreds of jobs.

Eric Gjede CBIA testified in opposition to the bill. Raising the minimum wage will not put more money in the pocket of the state's poorest residents. “In a study from University of California-Irvin, it found that shortly after a raise in the minimum wage a reduction of jobs followed.” It will end up hurting the very people you are trying to help. Many people who are in poverty do not have a job, so they would receive no benefits from a raise in the minimum wage. While this bill has good intentions it falls short in doing what it is intended to do.

Connecticut Restaurant Association opposes raising the minimum wage. Connecticut's current minimum wage is the 4th highest in the nation and employees who earn gratuities earn more than the minimum wage.

Andy Markowiski, NFIB opposes this bill stating this bill would hurt small businesses and their current and further employees. While the intentions are goo, it is bad policy at present. Small business in Connecticut will be forced to close their doors.

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association testified against the bill. The agricultural economy is important to our rural communities and at this time raising the minimum wage will result in significant job losses.

REPORTED BY: Pamela Bianca

Date: 3/19/2013