March 26: The First State to Make the Minimum Wage Over $10 an Hour


On March 26, 2014, Connecticut became the first state in the country to pass legislation setting  its minimum wage above $10 an hour. The new law mandated slight increases, rolled out over three years, that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by the start of 2017, increasing the paychecks of  over 70,000 Connecticut workers.

Governor Dannel Malloy,  in the midst of a re-election campaign following his first term in office, may have been inspired to push for the increase by President Barack Obama. President Obama gave a series of speeches focusing on the topic in early 2014, including one at Central Connecticut State University on March 5. In that speech, the President urged the governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont — all of whom were in attendance — to increase their states’ respective minimum wages. After that speech, Governor Malloy lobbied hard for the increase.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy at a minimum wage rally in Hartford in 2014. (CT Mirror)

As 2014 was a gubernatorial election year, most of the arguments for and against the wage increase predictably fell along partisan lines. Proponents lauded the move as beneficial for the Connecticut’s working poor, while opponents warned that government-mandated wage increases would discourage business growth and exacerbate the state’s unemployment rate. Others noted that Connecticut’s minimum wage — already the fourth highest in the country — was already scheduled to increase to $9 by the beginning of 2015, even without the proposed legislation. On March 26, the legislation passed through both chambers of the state legislature, which made Connecticut the first state in the nation to pass  a minimum wage of over $10. A financial boost for tens of thousands of hourly wage workers was first set into motion, today in Connecticut history.

Further Reading:

Connecticut becomes first state to pass $10.10 minimum wage,CT Mirror

Connecticut is increasing minimum wage to $10.10 an hour,” New York Times