Vermont's current minimum wage is $8.73 an hour; under the proposed legislation, it would increase to $9.19 in 2015, $9.65 in 2016, and then to $10.10 in 2017. That would mean a raise for more than 16,000 workers:
The state Labor Department estimated that 16,499 jobs in Vermont in 2012 paid less than $9 an hour, a sizable number of them in retail trade, accommodations and food service. A recent study done for the Legislature shows that 67 percent of those earning less than $12.50 an hour in Vermont are over age 30.As for a proposal requiring paid sick leave for all the state's workers:
[Gov. Peter] Shumlin called paid sick leave “conceptually a very good idea,” but said having the state require it is a public policy that has poorly vetted while raising the minimum wage is a familiar concept.Poorly vetted perhaps in the sense that there's more business opposition to it, but paid sick leave as a policy is already working well in San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut, and has recently been passed in New York City, Newark and Jersey City. Plus, you know, most of America's peer nations have long had paid sick leave policies. So as a matter of policy rather than American politics, it's actually very well vetted. Which does not stop businesses from screaming at the prospect; it's just that it should help give Democrats the strength to ignore the screaming.