By Michael Shepherd
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.