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Key Senate committee approves minimum wage hike

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The state Senate Ways and Means Committee on Friday approved a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by January 2017.

The $7.25 an hour wage would be raised in increments over three years. The state’s minimum wage has not been increased since 2007.

The bill would also include a tip credit, although the amount was left blank. An earlier draft eliminated the 25 cent tip credit now in state law.

Senators also agreed to drop a provision that would tie future increases in the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index.

State Sen. David Ige, the chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, announced that he and Sen. Clayton Hee, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, had agreed on the changes to the bill.

Hee had previously said he would not give Ige prior concurrence to amend key provisions of the bill.

The House Finance Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour by January 2018 and expand the tip credit to $1. Businesses could not deduct the tip credit, however, from workers who earn less than 250 percent of the poverty level, or about $33,500 a year.

If both bills cross over between the chambers as expected next week, House and Senate leaders would have to reconcile the differences before passing a final version.

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