- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island lawmakers have offered yet another proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage.

The bill introduced by Rep. David Bennett would raise the wage to $9 per hour next year and $10 per hour in 2016. Beginning in 2017 the wage would automatically be adjusted for inflation. Bennett is a Warwick Democrat.

The current wage is $8 per hour.

Several lawmakers have said they’re interested in raising the wage. Another bill before the General Assembly would seek to increase it to $9.

Supporters say a higher wage would keep up with increases in housing, food and transportation costs and help the overall economy by giving low-income workers greater spending power. But opponents argue higher minimum wages raise costs on businesses and could result in small businesses hiring fewer workers.

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