- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A Senate panel has approved raising Rhode Island’s minimum wage again, to $9 an hour.

The legislation sponsored by Sen. Erin Lynch would raise the wage next year by $1 an hour. The $8-an-hour rate went into effect in January, up from $7.75 last year.

The bill as introduced also called for an increase to $10 an hour in 2016 and another automatic increase in future years according to the rate of inflation, but the Labor Committee stripped those provisions Wednesday.

Supporters say boosting the wage will help the economy by giving low-income workers more spending power. Critics say it poses a burden to businesses and could lead to less hiring.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidates favor increasing the minimum wage. The Republicans have come out against it.

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