While fellow Democrats Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo support raising the minimum wage, Clay Pell is upping the ante by calling for pushing the wage to $10.10, effective July 1.
In letters to legislative leaders, Pell also called for annual adjustments to the wage based on the Consumer Price Index.
“Working Rhode Islanders can’t wait. That’s why I’m calling on the General Assembly to act now and raise the minimum wage,” Pell says in a statement. “Last year, someone working forty hours per week at the minimum wage earned approximately $16,120, and, even with this year’s increase to $8.00 an hour, they would still earn only $16,640. Raising the minimum wage would have a real and immediate impact in people’s lives.”
With Democrats seizing on the minimum wage as a national issue, Taveras called in January for raising RI's minimum wage -- which went to $8 at the start of the year -- to $10.10 by 2018. Raimondo moved quickly to endorse the same increase, and getting it done by 2015.
According to Pell, “Increasing the state minimum wage would have a broad positive effect throughout the Ocean State. In 2012, women accounted for 57 percent of minimum wage earners. More than 40 percent of minimum wage workers have some level of college education, and 80 percent are at least twenty years old. This issue touches every Rhode Island community."
Pell, who is trying to overcome unflattering media attention about the missing Prius that he owns with his wife, Michelle Kwan, says he plans to meet with elected officials, business people and others to discuss his minimum wage proposal.