March 23, 2013

Maine panel: Raise minimum wage to $8 in 2014

But the 8-5 vote engineered by Democrats will face a challenge in the Legislature and could be vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

A legislative committee voted along party lines Friday to support a bill that would raise Maine’s minimum wage to $9 by 2016 and index it to inflation each year thereafter.

But the 8-5 vote engineered by Democrats on L.D. 611 will face a challenge on the floor of the Legislature and a potential veto from Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The original bill would have raised the minimum wage to $8.50 by October 2013, then adjust it to the rate of inflation every October thereafter. As amended in committee, the bill would raise Maine’s minimum to $8 by July 2014, to $8.50 by July 2015 and $9 by July 2016, then adjust it annually to inflation, the Maine AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions, said in a news release.

The measure is co-sponsored by the two highest-ranking Democratic leaders, Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and Speaker of the House Mark Eves, D-North Berwick.

The Department of Economic and Community Development and the Department of Labor testified against the bill in a public hearing last week.

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