CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - Massachusetts is not only considered a high cost-of-living state, but it's also known as having one of the highest minimum wages in the country--at $8 an hour. That's 75 cents more than the federal wage. But some say it's still not enough as gas prices, home heating costs, and groceries continue to rise dramatically.
"The current minimum wage doesn't seem to cut it. I find it's often tight with current bills...with electrical and car insurance...so I would like to see a raise", said Chris Rudert of Chicopee told 22News.
Democratic State Senator Marc Pacheco has proposed a new bill that would increase the state's minimum wage--over three years--to $11 an hour. He believes that Massachusetts is behind where it needs to be when it comes to keeping up with inflation.
"$11 an hour, that would be great! It would do more than $8.30 that I'm getting right now an hour...it would pay off more bills", said Paola Melendez of Springfield.
But while many are welcoming the idea of getting paid more, there are some businesses concerned that such a hike would ultimately cost them in the end.
Michael Dugre is co-owner of the Lucky Strike Restaurant in Chicopee. He has been in the business for years and has employed many part-time students. But Dugre believes if the minimum wage were to increase by $3, it would negatively affect--not only the budget--but jobs.
"I don't think that employers like myself who are hiring these kids and giving them a job should have to pay them $11 an hour. In fact, I think if that were the case, there'd be a lot less of these kids getting hired...believe me. It's too high", said Dugre.
The last time Massachusetts raised its minimum wage was back in January of 2008.