- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A new effort to raise the minimum wage is underway in Augusta.

A bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Gina Melaragno (Mel-ar-AN-yo) of Auburn would raise the minimum wage from $7.50 to $12 per hour by 2020. She joined other advocates to lobby for the bill at the Statehouse on Wednesday.

Melaragno says in a statement that so many residents are struggling in part-time and low-wage jobs that Maine shouldn’t wait to raise the minimum wage.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill in 2013 that would have boosted the minimum wage to $9 by 2016 and then raise it occasionally for inflation.

LePage has said that the state should focus on lowering energy costs and reducing the tax burden to bring higher paying jobs to Maine instead.

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