By Steven Goode, Hartford Courant
HARTFORD — President Barack Obama will speak at Central Connecticut State University on Wednesday in an effort to garner support for increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
The visit was announced Sunday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office, which said the president would be joined in New Britain by Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island and Gov. Peter E. Shumlin of Vermont.
“There is a debate happening across our country on how to tackle the growing income inequality that is detrimental to our middle class families and to our economy,” Malloy said in a release. “Part of tackling that critically important challenge is making sure that we recognize that a decent wage is good for workers and good for business.
Malloy defended Obama’s proposal at a press conference Monday in Washington and has urged the General Assembly to pass a bill this year that would raise Connecticut’s minimum wage to $10.10.
The governor’s proposal would raise the minimum wage to $9.15 next January, then $9.60 the following year and $10.10 in January 2017.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and U.S. Labor Thomas E. Perez visited Hartford together to discuss the importance of raising the federal minimum wage, and national Democrats have pointed to Malloy’s actions in Connecticut, saying the state is emerging a s model for the country.
“For too long, the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living,” Malloy said in the release. “As studies have shown, the workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase brought home 46 percent of their household’s total wage and salary income in 2011. When workers earn more money, businesses will have more customers. This modest boost will help those earning the least to make ends meet.”
More details of the president’s visit will be released later in the week.