I’ve been asked to say a few words about the struggle in our own state to raise the minimum wage. Much of the information I’m passing along was provided in an email I got from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is hosting a website where you can sign a petition in support of Chris Donovan’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.75 an hour.
Many years ago I worked for near the minimum wage when I worked as a lifeguard for the City of Hartford. I think the minimum wage was around $1.50 then, and I would venture that $1.50 was worth a lot more than the $9.75 that’s under consideration. Back then the price of gas was around 32 cents a gallon. It is now about twelve times higher, so by that benchmark, at least, the minimum wage should be close to $18.00 now. But, back then, other than the Vietnam disaster, the country was relatively sanely run.
As usual, politicians fear to go where the public would gladly tread, at least according to Progressive Change’s press release:
According to our polling, Speaker Donovan’s original proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.75/hr is supported by 64% of likely voters in Connecticut.
Nearly 2/3 of those who support increasing the minimum wage to $9.75 do so strongly — 41% strongly support and 23% somewhat support a $9.75 increase.86% of Democrats, 54% of Independents, and nearly half of Republicans (46%) support Speaker Donovan’s $9.75 proposal
When given the option of increasing the minimum wage to Donovan’s $9.75 rate, higher than $9.75, lower than $9.75, or not at all, 54% of Connecticut likely voters want $9.75 or higher. Only 14% support an increase to less than $9.75 — nearly a 4 to 1 advantage for $9.75 or higher.
This means the $9.25 approved by the CT House Labor committee is much less popular that Donovan’s $9.75 proposal.
The polling questions, which are contained in the full press release appear to be straightforward and not misleading. They were reproduced in the press release I got, for which, unfortunately, I can’t find a link. It’s too lengthy to replicate here, so you’ll have to take my word.
Perhaps the most important part of the proposal is the provision that the minimum wage would increase with the cost of living. That does away with legislative battles and endless debates about the endlessly discredited Republican arguments against the very concept of the minimum wage.
We in Connecticut can be proud of the fact that our legislature is considering a bill that would actually help people presently living at the margins, while so many states, under Republican sway, are busily grinding the poor and middle class so they can divert more money toward the .1%.