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Officials begin to see impact of Conn. minimum wage increase

State officials explained that the minimum wage increase is creating a ripple effect within communities, for children of the next generation.

HARTFORD, Conn — Connecticut's minimum wage has increased from $13 to $14. While that's good news for workers—it adds an extra challenge to small businesses when inflation is already impacting operations.

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, State Representative Maryam Khan, and State Representative Edward Vargas gathered on Monday morning at My People Clinical Services in Hartford to emphasize the impact of the minimum wage increase. 

Though just a few weeks into effect, state officials explained that the minimum wage increase is creating a ripple effect within communities, for children of the next generation, and in urban areas where there's a lot of concentration of poverty.

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Abdul Rahmaan I. Muhammad, LMSW, My People Clinical Executive Director, agreed. He said 96% of his staff is made up of people of color, and he sees firsthand the impact wage increases have on BIPOC communities. 

"They're trying just to make ends meet, and so whenever they can get a little bit more and their paycheck, it makes a big difference for their families overall," said Muhammad. "That means more food on the table, more activities they can do together, more bills that can be paid."

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Lt. Governor Bysiewicz said this is precisely the goal of the statewide raise. 

"We have millions of people in our country that work at one or more jobs, yet they live in poverty, and this legislation will help lift families out of poverty," said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz.

In the spring of 2019, a minimum wage increase to 5x over a 5yr period was signed into law. With inflation on the rise, officials said this wage increase is right on time, and more than 100 thousand families will benefit from it

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"This dollar an hour increase is going to mean $158 million to those families" explained Lt. Governor Bysiewicz. 

State leaders say many minimum wage workers are single women, mothers, and those in marginalized communities where poverty is high.

While many of My People Clinical Services employees make above minimum wage, there are young people who are a part of the positive youth development program where this increase will have a ripple effect on their lives. 

"For them, it is important for them because some of them are helping to offset some of the expenses for their families for their parents," explained  Dr. Dayeshell Muhammad, Director of Operations, My People Clinical Services. "By taking the stance and helping our families, we can improve generations."

This minimum wage increase impacts around 200 thousand workers across the state. However, the timing for small businesses is less than ideal after struggling through the pandemic and now working with the rising costs of business expenses.

The next minimum wage increase will be next July 1, 2023. 

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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