PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Senate has overwhelmingly approved a $.60 increase to the state’s minimum wage.
One day after the House passed a similar bill, senators voted 34 to 3 to raise the minimum wage to $9.60 per hour beginning January 1.
Lawmakers said the increase is necessary to compete with Massachusetts and Connecticut. Connecticut’s minimum wage will go up to $9.60 next year and $10.10 in 2017, while the rate in Massachusetts will increase to $10 per hour next year and $11 in 2017.
“A higher minimum wage helps the people who make the least, and it also has very positive effects throughout the economy,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Erin Lynch. “Many employers also give raises to their hourly employees who are just above the minimum. That’s more money in the pockets of people who need it, and they in turn spend that money on the things they and their families need, pumping it right back into the economy through local businesses.”
If enacted, it will mark the fourth straight annual increase. The minimum wage was raised from $8 per hour to $9 this past January.