HARTFORD – Saying it is the “absolute wrong time’’ to increase the state’s minimum wage, House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. today said business are still hurting from the recession and that the mandating higher rates could actually increase unemployment.
“We all want workers to be able to care for themselves and their families but now is not the time to hike the minimum wage. Businesses have a finite amount of money to commit to their payrolls and this could lead to job losses,’’ Cafero said. Democrats have called for a $1.50 increase in the current minimum of $8.75 over the next two years. Connecticut is already among the highest minimum levels in the country and the Democratic proposal would make the state the highest by far.
Democrats also want to index the minimum rate, guaranteeing automatic increases in the future. Connecticut raised the minimum wage in 2010. Cafero said he might be open to indexing the rate but not at this point.
Many small businesses who participated in a Republican jobs forum last fall said that their profit margins were already razor thin and asked lawmakers not to heap any more mandates on them. Last year the Democrats made Connecticut the only state in the country to require paid sick leave for employees.
“Connecticut is not open for business as some like to suggest. We are driving businesses away and hampering those here from expanding. Automatically increasing payrolls is not a path to create more jobs. We need to make sure people have jobs to go to before we force employers to increase their costs,’’ Cafero said.