Minimum Wage Increase Uncertain in Maine
According to Maine Public, both the state’s Senate and House have given initial approval to raise Maine’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Yet, Gov. Janet Mills has not given direct approval of the bill, leaving the finalization of the increase uncertain.
Though she has not committed to vetoing it, a Democratic spokesperson for Mills says she supports the system put in place in 2016, which increased the minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to its current $13.80 an hour.
The state Senate voted 22-11 to pass the bill on Tuesday, just one day after the House passed it by a single vote. The proposal would boost Maine’s minimum wage by $1.20 an hour, effective in January if enacted. Then starting in 2025, it would increase annually based on the cost-of-living index. Supporters of the bill, like Democratic Sen. Mike Tipping of Orono, believe minimum wage increases help workers without hurting the economy.
“Amid rising costs and inflation, the last thing Maine people need is for lawmakers to make it harder for working families to get by,” Tipping said in a statement. “I’m proud that Senate Democrats stood united against cutting the minimum wage and instead finally increased the minimum to $15 next year. It’s not a living wage anywhere in Maine, but it will help a lot of families afford groceries, gas, health care and housing as prices continue to increase.”