Minimum wage hike approved by House committee

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A House committee sent a phased in minimum wage increase to the House floor, Delaware Public Media reported. 

The bill would raise the minimum wage in steps to $15 an hour by 2025.

If passed, the bill would put Delaware on the same path as New Jersey and Maryland in moving to the $15 an hour base wage. Pennsylvania remains at $7.25 an hour. 

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Under the current Delaware’s minimum wage is slated to increase by $1 to $10.25 an hour in October. No further increase is scheduled.

The push for the $15 an hour wage came after Congress failed to act on a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Delaware  bill cleared the Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee in the House  on a party line vote after a hearing that featured small business owners testifying that  the increase could force them out of business.

Opponents also argued that the timing of the bill was bad, given the fragile condition of businesses emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.

Backers said the bill was needed to help lower income workers who have struggled during the pandemic.

The bill had earlier passed the State Senate by a 14-7 vote. 

Progressives had worried that the  bill would end up being   bottled up in the  Economic Development House Committee. That did not prove to be he case.

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