Raising the minimum wage to $10.10: A win-win for Rhode Island workers and the economy

Raising the minimum wage will improve the economic well-being of Rhode Islanders and strengthen the state’s economy. Giving the lowest paid workers a raise will improve their economic security and help curb the growth in income inequality, which has been significant in the Ocean State over the past three decades. Putting more money in the pockets of workers will also put more money in the cash registers of locals businesses and create jobs in Rhode Island.

Minimum wage workers are not able to meet their basic needs. The Rhode Island Standard of Need, a study that documents the cost of living in the Ocean State, shows that a worker earning the state’s current minimum wage of $7.75/hour falls short of meeting his or her basic expenses by $474 each month. Furthermore, while Rhode Island’s minimum wage is slightly higher than the federal minimum wage, it still leaves a family of three well below the federal poverty line ($16,120 versus $18,480).