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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Massachusetts to raise minimum wage to highest of any U.S. state

•, By Elizabeth Barber
The move will come as U.S. Democrats nationally are trying to make the minimum wage a key issue ahead of midterm congressional elections in November, framing the effort as a quest of conscience on behalf of the millions of Americans living on wages that have not kept up with rising costs of living.

A spokeswoman for Patrick said he would sign the bill at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).

It will raise the state's minimum wage in stages from its current level of $8 per hour and follows similar moves by neighboring Connecticut and Vermont.

The first minimum wage increase in Massachusetts since 2008 is expected to benefit some 500,000 workers statewide, said state Representative Thomas Conroy, who is a Democrat like Patrick.

"A lot of these folks are really struggling on the margins and they deserve a raise," Conroy said. "It's one small step toward addressing an income inequality issue that I think so many Americans are finding really frustrating."

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