Compromise Emerges On Minimum Wage Hike

May 27, 2015
Aaron Read / RIPR

Lawmakers in Rhode Island's House and Senate labor committees are considering a compromise this week that would increase the state's minimum wage.  But the proposed 60-cent wage hike is less than what some lawmakers had hoped to see. 

Currently, Rhode Island's minimum wage is $9 an hour. The original bill would have hiked the wage to $10.10 as of 2016.  The bill now calls for an increase to $9.60 per hour.

Day Donaldson / flickr

The Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, is in Rhode Island today.  

She’s set to speak before some 750 people at the Providence Chamber of Commerce’s annual Economic Outlook Luncheon.

Yellen is the first woman in U.S. history to hold the top position at the Fed. Yellen has spent time in Rhode Island before; she graduated from Brown University with an economics degree in 1967.

Governor Gina Raimondo, Senator Jack Reed and University of Rhode Island President David Dooley are also set to speak at the lunch.

Aaron Read / RIPR

As of April 2015, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is 6.1 percent; the lowest since 2007. Over the past year, the total number of unemployed in Rhode Island dropped by more than 11,000.

That’s according to the latest numbers from the state Department of Labor and Training. The gain is significant for Rhode Island which maintained one of the highest unemployment rates in the country in recent years.  However, it’s still higher than the national average which hit 5.4 percent.   

Photo Courtesy of the Coastal Resources Management Council

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has selected the University of Rhode Island (URI) to be one of two partners in its Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence.

URI is already working on a number of research and policy projects related to coastal resiliency, said Tom Miller, director of administration at URI's Graduate School of Oceanography. Miller said this partnership is an opportunity to broaden the university's reputation with the federal government when it comes to its expertise on coastal and climate issues.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Welders have started to build parts for a wind energy facility off the coast of Block Island. It’s on track to be the country’s first offshore wind farm.  State leaders were on hand for the start of construction today (Monday). Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza says they are calling it a great day for Rhode Island and the nation.

John Bender / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo marked her 100th day in office Thursday. Raimondo is taking part in several events to mark the occasion.


Along with two other appearances, Governor Raimondo is celebrating the 100th anniversary of two northern Rhode Island businesses, Yacht Club Soda and Navigant Credit Union.

Raimondo won election in November as the state’s first female governor. Since taking office, she’s dealt with severe winter weather and touted her proposed budget as a way to revitalize Rhode Island’s economy.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

As part of our new series “Rising Tide,” Rhode Island Public Radio is bringing you stories of life after the Great Recession. The economy is improving, but does a rising tide lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind? In this next installment, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Chuck Hinman visits a couple who started a small business, and a family, in the depths of the Great Recession.


Retired public employees are slated to vote Monday on a proposed settlement to the state pension dispute. The voting is expected to take place starting at 10 at the Twin River event center.

The retirees are just one in a series of union groups that need to approve the settlement. At least some active workers face a deadline of voting on the deal by Friday.

The process for approving or rejecting the settlement is shrouded in secrecy. That’s because a judge imposed a gag order preventing parties in the case from talking about it.

John Bender / RIPR

Eight years since the height of the national foreclosure crisis, Providence faces a plague of vacant houses, blighting neighborhoods.  Now the capital city’s new mayor is ramping up efforts to combat the issue. One home on the city's West Side is a success story; it's part of the ambitious plan to create many more in the state capital.

On a cold, sunny morning in March a massive front end loader tears into a tan, two-story home, on Marshall St. on the West Side of Providence. A group of neighbors and passersby watch from across the street.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss her budget proposal, efforts to reinvent Medicaid, the pension dispute and much more.

You can hear more from Governor Raimondo in our Bonus Q+A segment.

Aaron Read / RIPR

The state’s unemployment rate ticked down in January, compared to the same month a year ago.  The rate is now 6.5 percent; the state’s lowest since the start of the recession.

That’s down more than two percentage points since January of last year (when it stood at 8.6).  It’s been seven years since the state’s unemployment rate has been this low, back in February of 2008.  Despite the good news, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, of 5.7 percent.

Business leaders are expressing concerns about Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, effective in 2016.

Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce said she doesn't oppose the wage hike, but points out it could cause unintended consequences, especially for small businesses.

“Which would be potentially the shrinkage of hours for workers and also the potential that fewer jobs would be created,” said White.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island is among 15 states whose shellfish industry is at long-term economic risk from the effects of ocean acidification. That’s according to new study funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Gina Raimondo era in Rhode Island government starts with her inauguration as governor next Tuesday.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is poised next month to win his first full two-year term to what is considered the most powerful post in state government. The Cranston Democrat won a battle for the speakership last March following the resignation of his predecessor, Gordon Fox. Mattiello sat down in his Statehouse office this week to discuss his priorities for 2015 and a host of other issues.