WASHINGTON – Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour could help more than 89,300 Rhode Islanders and 453,100 Bay Staters make ends meet, according to a state-by-state analysis released by the White House last week.
The study showed that a $10.10 wage would provide additional income for a full-time minimum-wage earner in Rhode Island to pay for just over four months of rent, 27 weeks of groceries, 73 tanks of gas (where a tank equals 15 gallons of gasoline) or the equivalent of 33 months of electricity.
In Rhode Island, where the state minimum wage rose to $8 an hour on Jan. 1 this year, Democratic gubernatorial candidates Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, R.I. General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo and Clay Pell have advocated raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Republican candidates Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Ken Block have opposed raising the wage.
Massachusetts’ state minimum wage is also $8 an hour, but rents are pricier and utilities cost slightly less than in Rhode Island, the White House analysis showed. A $10.10 wage in the Bay State would pay for a little more than three months of rent, 27 weeks of groceries, 74 tanks of gas or the equivalent of 39 months of electricity.
Nationally, more than 28 million workers nationwide could be affected by a raise in the federal minimum wage, the White House said, 62 percent of which are adults without children, while 26 percent are adults with children and 12 percent are children under the age of 18.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced Senate bill S.460 and House bill H.R.1010, collectively known as the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013,” last year. The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour within two years, and would also index the minimum wage to inflation, so that as prices rise, so would the minimum wage.