Vermont lawmakers approve minimum wage boost; veto possible

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Legislature has voted to increase the state’s minimum wage, but all eyes are now on Republican Gov. Phil Scott to see if he will allow the bill to become law.

On Thursday the state Senate gave final approval to the bill that will increase the minimum wage to $12.55 an hour by 2022 from the current $10.96.

Proponents say the increased wage is needed for the approximately 40,000 minimum wage workers in the state.

“If you are a full-time worker working at minimum wage in the state of Vermont over these next two years, you will receive $5,000 more in wages,” said Democratic Sen. Michael Sirotkin.. “That’s important to people living at the edge.”

Scott has expressed reservations about the impact the higher wage would have on rural areas. In 2018, Scott vetoed a $15 minimum wage bill.

“A convenience store, let’s say up in Lunenburg, for instance, is far different than the convenience store in downtown Burlington or in Williston or in Shelburne,” Scott said during a Thursday news conference.

The current minimum wage bill did not pass the House with a veto-proof majority.

The increase is less than the $15 some Democratic and Progressive lawmakers had sought.

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