Delaware lawmakers passed a bill that will raise the state’s minimum wage beginning this year.
The bill made it through both the House and the Senate on Thursday before being quickly signed into law by Governor Jack Markell.
Under the bill, the state will increase minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour. The law will be implemented in two phases. The first 50-cent increase will occur on June 1, 2014. The second 50-cent increase will kick in on June 1, 2015.
“I’m proud to sign this bill and I wanted to do so on the same day that it passed to reflect the commitment that I and all the members of the general assembly who stand with me, all of us share, that we cannot wait any longer to get this done,” said Markell.
The bill, which was tabled last year, was one of the most anticipated for this session. It was heavily debated in the House Small Business Caucus and the House Banking and Finance Committee earlier this month.
Those who oppose the bill worry that small businesses would not be able to afford the wage increase.
The governor and other supporters of the bill said it will give minimum wage workers a little extra spending money, which will go right back in to local businesses.
“Raising the minimum wage represents one of the fastest ways we can act to give a boost to many struggling working families,” said Markell.
The passage of the bills comes on the same day as Gov. Markell presented his annual budget recommendations which calls for a hike in the state’s gas tax and corporate taxes.