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Portland Committee Approves Scaled-Back Minimum Wage Hike

Tom Porter
Mark James, left, and Drew Christopher Joy, of the Southern Maine Workers Center, show their support Thursday outside Portland City Hall for hiking the minimum wage.

PORTLAND, Maine - A Portland committee has given approval to a proposal to establish a city-wide minimum wage. It would be the first municipal minimum wage in the state and the twelveth in the U.S., according to the Portland Press Herald.

The proposal that was accepted is a scaled-back version of the one proposed by Mayor Michael Brennan. It would hike the Portland minimum wage to $8.75 on Jan. 1, 2016, with increases every two years until it hits $9.75 Jan. 1, 2020. Brennan had proposed starting at $9.50 an hour and raising it in increments from there.

Rather than being disappointed, Brennan says he's pleased that the Finance Committee finally took up the issue and voted on it. "Clearly this is a significant step for the city to recognize the need for increasing a minimum wage and having a minimum wage in the city."

Brennan notes that the plan still has to be considered by the full City Council. He says the version recommended by the Finance Committee Thursday night might not be the one ultimately approved by the council. He says there will continue to be opportunities for debate and discussion on the issue.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.