PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Gina M. Raimondo today continued to outline her proposed jobs package to move Rhode Island forward. Along with community leaders, she renewed her call to raise the minimum wage and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These proposals will boost the local economy and help make work pay for Rhode Islanders trying to provide a decent living for their family.
«No one who works full time should be forced to raise their family in poverty,» said Governor Raimondo. «By raising the minimum wage and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit, we send a clear message that Rhode Island is doing more to make work pay. My jobs package is rooted in the core belief that every hardworking person deserves the chance to make it in Rhode Island. These changes will benefit our families and strengthen our economy.»
«I wholeheartedly support Governor Raimondo in taking on these tremendously important issues,» said Dennis Roy, CEO of East Bay Community Action Program. «Through my work in the community, I see how poverty negatively impacts both a family’s day-to-day life, and unfortunately their future. On behalf of the many financially vulnerable Rhode Islanders whose lives will be improved by these changes, I thank Governor Raimondo.»
The Governor’s jobs package calls for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour as quickly as possible to strengthen Rhode Island families. According to the DLT 40,000-50,000 Rhode Islanders are minimum wage earners. The Economic Progress Institute estimates that about 91,000 low wage workers in the state’s labor force would be affected by an increase to $10.10.
The beneficiaries of a minimum wage increase defy traditional stereotypes of low-wage earners. According to the Economic Progress Institute, more than 4 out of 5 beneficiaries are 20 years or older, close to half impacted are employed full-time, and more than 40 percent have some college education.
The Governor’s proposal is keeping in line with our neighboring states – Massachusetts is scheduled to increase to $10 in 2016 and $11 in 2017; Connecticut is scheduled to increase to $9.60 in 2016 and $10.10 in 2017.
The Governor’s Jobs Package calls for expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit from 10 percent to 15 percent of the federal credit over the next two years. According to the Office of Revenue Analysis, more than 82,000 taxpayers would benefit from having a lower final Rhode Island personal income tax liability. This proposal is specifically designed to put money in the pockets of hardworking families and boost the local economy – 78 percent of the benefit of the increase would be realized by taxpayers with federal Adjusted Gross income of less than $25,000. The EITC increase begins to narrow income inequalities in the state, helps combat child poverty rates, and supports our efforts for a lower unemployment rate.