Governor marks Rhode Island’s minimum wage increase

By The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Gov. Gina Raimondo has marked the passage of legislation to raise Rhode Island‘s minimum wage with a ceremonial bill signing.

The governor was joined by state lawmakers Monday to mark the occasion. Raimondo says she’s proud to raise the state’s hourly rate from $9 to $9.60 starting Jan. 1.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says Rhode Island should remain competitive with neighboring states like Massachusetts and Connecticut that have increased wages.

Lawmakers initially considered raising the rate to $10.10. Raimondo supported that increase.

But organizations representing small businesses, the hospitality and food industries and others said they couldn’t afford it. Leaders of both chambers agreed to amend the proposals.

Warwick Democrats Sen. Erin Lynch and Rep. David Bennett sponsored the bills. They also led past efforts to increase the minimum wage.

© The Associated Press / WLNE-TV 2015