Tuesday, April 11, 2006

House Enacts Minimum Wage Increase for Maine
Bill will increase the minimum wage to $7 by 2007

AUGUSTA – In a closely divided vote, the Maine House of Representatives approved an increase in the state’s minimum wage on Tuesday, April 11th.
The bill won final House approval by a vote of 73-70. If approved once more by the Senate and signed by Governor Baldacci, the measure would provide Maine’s minimum wage earners with a 25 cent increase this year, and a 25 cent increase in 2007, to bring the state’s minimum wage to $7. Current law sets the state’s minimum wage at $6.50 an hour, the second lowest minimum wage in New England.

The vote came as a hard fought victory for proponents. Efforts to increase the minimum wage in the Maine Legislature suffered a setback last week, when the House of Representatives approved an amendment that would have delayed the increase in the minimum wage until 2007 and cut the proposed increase in half. That amendment was defeated in the Senate, and the original bill was restored and sent back to the House. The House then voted to approve the original bill, by a one-vote margin after a long floor debate.

During the debate on the issue, opponents continued to voice concerns about whether the wages should be increased for some un-skilled laborers, and the potential financial impact on minimum wage employers.

Currently, nearly 70 percent of minimum wage earners are adults who are 20 years or older, according to recent US census data, while the majority of minimum wage earners - nearly 62 percent - are women.


Blogger Ben said...

I guess this is good news. But I'm still waiting for the day when we can celebrate the fact that someone "representing" the people in Augusta actually stands up and fights for a living wage. I guess that won't happen since this paltry token gesture was almost defeated. Is it too much to ask that someone in government (at ANY level) expend their energy and ability on REAL change for the person on the street? I guess so, so long as it's not politically popular or expedient.

12 April, 2006 10:52  

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