MONTPELIER, Vt. — Today, the Vermont House gave preliminary approval to S.23, the Minimum Wage bill on a vote of 90 - 53.
“Increasing the minimum wage for hard-working Vermonters is critical,” said House General, Housing, & Military Affairs Committee chair, Rep. Tom Stevens (D-Waterbury). “A strong Vermont economy starts with decent wages for workers. When Vermonters have more money in their pockets, working families have more to invest back into our local economy. This grows jobs and economic opportunity across Vermont. Improving the incomes of working families and the middle-class is a top priority in the House. Working families are the foundation of a strong Vermont economy and thriving communities across the state.”
Rep. Matthew Trieber (D-Rockingham) presented the House Committee on Appropriations report on the bill, adding, “currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 and Vermont’s minimum wage is $10.78. If no action is taken, the projected minimum wage in Vermont wouldn’t reach $15 an hour until the mid-2030s. Beginning in 2020, the bill approved by the House today increases wages annually by 2.25 times the inflation rate (Consumer Price Index), increasing the minimum wage at a much faster rate. This puts more money in Vermonters’ pockets and more money back into the Vermont economy. The annual wage growth in this bill will occur unless there is a major economic downturn, giving Vermonters a much-needed raise, and giving Vermont businesses a backstop in times of economic uncertainty.”
“Increasing Vermonters wages is an economic imperative and an issue of gender equity,” added House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero). “More women than men are working in minimum wage jobs. We know that nationally, women make up two-thirds of all minimum wage and tipped wage workers, and many are single parents. Vermont workers need a raise and this bill accomplishes that goal in a modest way that makes considerations for shifts in the economy that disproportionately impact Vermont small businesses. The bottom line is, we want a Vermont that works for all of us, not just the select few, and this bill moves us toward that goal.”