A hike in the minimum wage is favored

BRIDPORT — A bill in the state Senate calls for a gradual increase in the state’s minimum wage, from the current $10.50 to $15 per hour by 2022. It was the topic of some discussion among lawmakers at Monday’s Legislative Breakfast at the Bridport Grange Hall.
Rep. Fred Baser, R-Bristol, is a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, which will review the bill when/if it emerges from the Senate.
“There is a fair amount of momentum for a $15 minimum wage,” Baser said, alluding to the tentative reception the idea is getting in the Democrat-controlled House and Senate.
“I think something will evolve, but I’m not exactly sure what the details will be,” Baser added.
Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, is a member of the Senate Government Operations Committee and she chairs the Senate Health & Welfare Committee.
“I can tell you that the majority of the Senate, the Democrats, are committed to seeing it happen,” Ayer said.
But she stressed the importance for the increase to occur over time, while not presenting a figurative “cliff” for lower-wage workers. Some lawmakers want to make sure low-income Vermonters don’t suddenly lose child care and other subsidies for which they currently qualify at current minimum wage standards.
Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and is chairwoman of the Vermont Child Poverty Council. She acknowledged potential impacts of a higher minimum wage on people’s benefits, as well as concerns raised by small business owners about the salary impact on their respective bottom lines.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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