, Salem, MA

Local News

March 21, 2014

Local lawmakers favor lower minimum-wage hike

North Shore legislators say a House plan for increasing the state’s minimum wage takes a more moderate approach than a similar bill that passed the state Senate last fall.

According to various reports and local legislators, House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s plan would step up the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10.50 in three years.

The federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour, which President Barack Obama has said should be raised to $10.10. The Senate bill would raise the minimum wage to $11 over three years.

One of the biggest differences is that while the Senate plan would index future minimum wage hikes to inflation, the House plan would not.

“It seems like the House is moving in a positive direction on my fronts,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who opposed indexing the minimum wage to inflation.

“I am not a big fan of indexing,” said state Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers. “It removes legislative oversight of an issue, and it does not factor in the circumstances of that particular moment.”

State Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, had supported a failed Senate amendment to strip out language that would index future minimum wage hikes after 2016 to the inflation rate. She called the House plan “a more moderate, reasonable approach.”

The Labor and Workforce Development Committee was expected to debate the House bills yesterday, but Tarr said an expected committee executive session did not take place.

“That indicates to me that that is still in flux,” Tarr said.

State Rep. Tom Conroy, D-Wayland, the House chairman of the Labor and Workforce Development Committee, last night issued a statement that blamed the Senate for a delay in the process. The intention had been to send the bills to the House for debate as soon as possible to raise the minimum wage, he said.

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