Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
Seattle and the District of Columbia are going higher, but Massachusetts is taking its minimum wage to $11 an hour
by 2017, higher than any other state:
"Raising the minimum wage brings a little relief to the working poor, many of whom do jobs we could not live without and who recycle money right back into the economy," Patrick said in a statement announcing the signing.
The law will raise the state's minimum wage in stages from its current level of $8 per hour and follows similar moves by neighboring Connecticut and Vermont.
The first minimum wage increase in Massachusetts since 2008 is expected to benefit some 500,000 workers statewide, said state Representative Thomas Conroy, who is a Democrat like Patrick.
As is the case with several of the recent state minimum wage increases, the Massachusetts raise, while significant, has some gaps. After the minimum wage reaches $11 in 2017, it will not
be indexed to inflation, meaning workers will still have to wait for specific legislative action to see raises, rather than seeing their pay go up gradually with the cost of living. Additionally, while the Commonwealth's tipped workers will get their first raise since 1999, the tipped worker minimum wage will only go to $3.75 per hour
, from its current level of $2.63. That's a 31 percent increase from horrifying to merely outrageous.
Still, a raise for hundreds of thousands of people is something to celebrate.