Rhode Island Legislature Approves Minimum Wage Hike

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Rhode Island’s lowest earners could be about to get their first raise in five years.

The state House of Representatives voted 60-to-8 Monday to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.40 to $7.75 an hour. The Senate approved the measure last week.

Democratic state Rep. Anastasia Williams says the increase is overdue and necessary to help workers in a bad economy. But some Republican lawmakers argue the increase would backfire by prompting struggling small businesses to delay new hires.

Rhode Island food retailers have argued a higher wage will lead to an increase in food prices.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY’-fee) has not said if he supports the increase.

The increase, if approved, would go into effect in 2013.

The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8, and it’s $8.25 in Connecticut.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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