HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday he is throwing his political weight behind efforts to increase the state's minimum wage.
The Democrat told reporters following the State Bond Commission meeting that he supports raising the current rate of $8.25 to $9 over the next two years. Malloy said it is "good public policy" and a way to keep children out of poverty.
"It is my hope that this year we can get it done," he said. "I have spoken with some of the business community and believe that we can get to $9 an hour over the next two years, an increase that will make it just a little easier for working people in our state without adversely impacting the business community."
Malloy said he is not supporting a proposal before the General Assembly that would raise the rate to $9.50 an hour over two years and requires automatic increases in the future that would be based on the Consumer Price Index.
Business groups voiced dismay with Malloy's announcement. The National Federation of Independent Businesses said most small businesses pay more than the minimum wage. The group says those that don't pay more than the minimum wage cannot afford to pay more. Therefore, an increase would "push them over the edge" financially.
Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, the co-chairman of the legislature's Labor and Public Employees Committee, she's not disappointed that Malloy is not supporting the bill currently before lawmakers. But she hopes to work on "more of a compromise than where we are right now."