STATE HOUSE - Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Governor Gina M. Raimondo hosted a bill signing ceremony today to mark the passage of legislation to raise Rhode Island's minimum hourly wage from $9 to $9.60 effective January 1, 2016. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Erin P. Lynch and Representative David A. Bennett and approved by the General Assembly, will give a boost to Rhode Island's economy by putting money in the pockets of hardworking families.
"I'm proud to sign this bill, which marks an important step forward in our efforts to make work pay for the hardworking men and women of Rhode Island," said Governor Raimondo. "Yet we know the minimum wage is not enough to lift a family out of poverty. Everyone who works hard should have a chance to earn a decent living and provide for their family, and the Speaker, Senate President, and I are committed to working together to spark the economic comeback Rhode Islanders deserve."
"I am proud that we have raised the minimum wage each of the last four years," said Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston). "I am mindful that our neighboring states have been increasing their wages. I have always believed that we should be competitive with Massachusetts and Connecticut, including maintaining the standard of living for our citizens."
"Rhode Islanders must be paid wages that realistically reflect the value of their work and the costs of products and necessities for living today," said President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). "Neighboring states' minimum wages are a good barometer of where ours should be, because the costs of living are roughly similar. Keeping Rhode Island's rate in line with the neighboring states' will help bolster Rhode Islanders' buying power and strengthen our economy."
"Putting more money in the pockets of those with the lowest wages helps them buy the basic goods and services their families need," said Representative Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston). "It also helps the economy, because those workers go out and spend that money locally, supporting local businesses. A stronger minimum wage will mean a stronger economy for Rhode Island."
"Raising the minimum wage helps people support themselves and reduces the likeliness that they'll need government assistance programs," said Senator Lynch (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston.) "This is an increase that brings us more in line with our neighboring states, and helps our residents keep up with the costs of living in our region of the country, and will help Rhode Island's economy keep up too."
For more information, contact:
Legislative Press Bureau,
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903