State minimum wage to rise to $12.55 by 2022
MONTPELIER — Vermont's minimum wage will increase to $12.55 an hour by 2022 after the Democrat-led House voted Tuesday to override the Republican governor's veto of the bill.
The vote was 100-49. Since the Senate voted 24-6 this month in favor of the override, the House's action means the minimum wage increase from the current $10.96 is now law, according to Rebecca Kelley, the governor's spokeswoman. It takes effect July 1.
"Today's vote reaffirms the legislature's commitment to Vermont's working families," said House Speaker, Mitzi Johnson, a Democrat from South Hero, in a written statement. "A wage increase will be instrumental in improving the lives of Vermonters."
Supporters of the bill said wages have not kept up the cost of living for many working Vermonters.
"This increase in minimum wage will not end poverty as we know it," said Rep. David Yacovone, a Democrat from Morrisville. "It will, however, help smooth the sharp edges of poverty and make life a little easier to tolerate for many. It is not a perfect solution, but I believe it will make Vermont a better place to live."
Scott, who in 2018 vetoed a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, said the current measure would hurt the Vermonters it's aimed at helping.
"My concerns for this bill — based on fiscal analysis from the Legislature's Joint Fiscal Office — have been that the negative impacts on Vermont's economy, workers' hours and jobs will outweigh the positive benefits, especially in our more rural areas," he said in a written statement after the vote.
Many Republican lawmakers agreed, saying there were better ways to help move people out of poverty.
"Many businesses will need to cut hours in order to meet payroll," said state Rep. Cynthia Browning, of Arlington.
Scott said he hoped "for the sake of our rural communities" that legislators were correct in choosing to override those concerns.
"We simply cannot sustain more job losses or closed businesses, particularly outside the greater Burlington area," he said.
The original bill did not pass the House with the two-thirds margin needed to override the governor's veto, but some lawmakers changed their votes Tuesday.
Scott's veto was his 18th since he took office in 2017.
This month, the House failed by one vote to override Scott's veto of a bill that would have set up a government-funded paid family leave system.
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