Posted on Leave a comment

Warwick Pols’ Bills Raising Minimum Wage to $9.60 Move Forward

The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.

Warwick, RI –  Bills introduced by Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) and Sen. Erin P. Lynch (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) increasing minimum wage 60 cents to $9.60, the fourth hike in as many years, are moving forward with the support of General Assembly leadership.

Each of the three previous increases were the result of legislation introduced by the lawmakers. Before their bill raising it from $7.40 to $7.75 on Jan. 1, 2013, it had not been increased since 2007, according to a release from the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.

This January minimum wage in Rhode Island rose from $8 to $9.

Legislators pointed to the minimum wages of surrounding states as one reason Rhode Island needs another raise next year. The rate in Connecticut will also be $9.60 in 2016 and $10.10 in 2017. The rate in Massachusetts will rise to $10 in 2016 and $11 in 2017. (The Rhode Island legislation does not address 2017.)

“Increasing wages for those at the bottom of the pay scale provides hard-working Rhode Islanders with income to spend on the basics they need. Increasing the rate so that it remains competitive with neighboring states is fair, and it helps Rhode Island workers support themselves, making it less likely that they will need to rely on government assistance,” said Lynch.

“When people have more money in their pockets, they spend more money, especially those who are making minimum wage or little more. When they make more, they put that money right back into our economy buying the things their families need, supporting local businesses that need their dollars. And because the minimum wage applies to all businesses, raising it doesn’t put anyone at a competitive disadvantage, particularly since our surrounding states’ minimum wages are the same or higher. A stronger minimum wage will mean a stronger economy for Rhode Island,” said Bennett.

Legislative leaders agreed Rhode Island should provide wages competitive with neighboring states.

“Massachusetts andConnecticut will increase their rates next year, and we should offer comparable wages. Raising the minimum wage will give our workers at the low end of the scale more economic purchasing power and will provide a better standard of living,” said House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).

“Rhode Islanders must be paid wages that realistically reflect the value of their work and the costs of products and necessities for living today. Neighboring states’ minimum wages are a good barometer of where ours should be, because the costs of living are roughly similar. KeepingRhode Island’s rate in line with the neighboring states’ will help bolster Rhode Islanders’ buying power and strengthen our economy,” said Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown).

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

This is a test