Gov. Rell vetoes minimum wage increase

HARTFORD - Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed legislationTuesday that would have raised Connecticut's minimum wage, sayingit would hurt businesses already facing economic challenges.

Rell's veto leaves the hourly rate at $7.65 for theapproximately 65,000 Connecticut residents earning the minimumwage. The last increase went into effect two years ago.

"Seeking an increase in the minimum wage is laudable, but it isa decision that cannot be made absent consideration of its impacton the state's economy," Rell wrote in her veto message toSecretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

"As leaders, we have to be cautious about mandating additionalcosts to be borne by Connecticut employers and must always becognizant of what is best for Connecticut, not only in the shortterm, but the long term," she said.

The legislation, passed largely along partly lines in theDemocratic-controlled legislature, would have raised the hourlyrate to $8 in 2009 and to $8.25 in 2010.

Of the approximately 65,000 state residents who earn minimumwage, about 47 percent are 24 years old and younger, according tothe state Labor Department. Many work part-time in retail, sales,cashier and food service jobs.

Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday for state SenatePresident Pro Tem Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, one of the bill'sleading proponents; and the Connecticut Business and IndustryAssociation, which opposed it.

Rell cited a report by Bysiewicz that 2,752 Connecticutbusinesses had closed in the first quarter of 2008. Many others arerunning on "razor-thin margins," Rell said, adding that anincrease in the minimum wage could be the last straw for some.

At $7.65 per hour, Connecticut's rate is more than the federalminimum of $5.85 per hour and the nearby states of Rhode Island($7.40), New York ($7.15), New Jersey ($7.15) and New Hampshire($6.50). It is less than Massachusetts ($8) and Vermont ($7.68).

Rell on Tuesday also vetoed a related bill that would haveincreased the "tip credit" for businesses whose workers regularlyreceive gratuities, such as waiters and bartenders.

The tip credit lets hotels, restaurants and related businessespay less than minimum wage to service employees as long as tipsmake up the difference. Without the minimum wage increase, the billto increase the tip credit was unnecessary, Rell said.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

Team of the Week: Sacred Heart women's golf 1 Team of the Week: Sacred Heart women's golf
Bridgeport police investigating death of 10-month-old boy as 2 Bridgeport police investigating death of baby boy as homicide
Milford police have arrested a woman that they 3 Police: Woman set up man to be robbed at Milford hotel
4 Connecticut Sportscast, April 25
Workers from New York headed to Stamford Tuesday 5 Striking Charter Communications workers protest in Stamford

advertisement | advertise on News 12


Focus on Connecticut Focus on Connecticut

Features local, state and federal officials discussing the issues around southwestern Connecticut.

Celebrates African-American culture in southwestern Connecticut. Our Lives

Celebrates African-American culture in southwestern Connecticut.

Each week News 12 Connecticut introduces you to Hometown Hero

News 12 highlights people who give to the community.

We spotlight a local team each week. Connecticut Team of the Week

Each week News 12 Connecticut highlights a team from a local school.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.