AUGUSTA — Maine lawmakers are taking up a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 per hour beginning Oct. 1, and annual adjustments for inflation starting in October 2014.

The sponsor, Democratic Rep. Scott Hamann of South Portland, told the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee on Thursday that Maine’s minimum wage hasn’t been increased for four years. He says his bill, LD 611, wouldn’t give minimum wage workers annual increases in buying power, but just the means to keep their heads above water.

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Opponents warned that increases would have a damaging effect on the economy that would hurt everyone.

Maine’s current minimum wage is $7.50 per hour, 25 cents higher than the federal standard.

The Labor Committee also heard testimony on a bill requiring the state to buy American-made products.