Mass. House Sends $11 Minimum Wage Bill to Governor

A minimum wage increase in Massachusetts is on its way to Governor Deval Patrick’s desk.

That’s after the state House approved the measure, which would raise the rate to $11 an hour over three years.

Democrat Tom Conroy says the increase means working families will need less support from the state for housing and food.

“This bill, indeed, will make our budgeting process a lot easier because we will be subsidizing less those corporations that are not paying their employees enough,” Conroy said before the House passed the legislation on a 124-24 vote.

Republican Leader Brad Jones says he supported a minimum wage increase, but that this proposal is “too much, too fast, too soon” and will lead to job cuts.

“If you’re one of those employees who’s currently making $8 and is going to make $11 and not lose your job – sounds like a good deal,” Jones said. “But if you’re making $8 and hour and you might be one of those people who loses your job, sounds like a lousy deal.”

The legislation includes some business-friendly changes to the unemployment insurance program, but not enough, according to Jones.

The package is a compromise between the House and Senate. Unlike a previous Senate proposal, it does not tie future wage increases to inflation.

This story includes reporting from the State House House Service, and New England Public Radio’s Henry Epp.