The state Senate joined the House on Wednesday, May 25 in killing a proposal to give a 25 cent per hour increase to minimum wage earners.

The Senate voted 22-12 to defeat LD 447. All three Midcoast Republican state senators – Sens. Christopher Rector of Thomaston, A. David Trahan of Waldoboro, and Michael Thibodeau of Winterport voted to defeat the bill.

The House voted 77-69 on May 24 to reject LD 447.

The bill would have hiked the current $7.50 per hour minimum wage to $7.75 on Oct. 1, 2011, and $8 on Oct. 1, 2012. That amounted to a 3.3 percent increase this year and 3.2 percent next year.

A person working a 40-hour work week would have seen his or her pay rise from $300 to $310 per week this year and to $320 per week by Oct. 1, 2012.

The Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee had recommended that the bill be defeated. Republicans opposed the increase and Democrats supported it.

Locally, voting for the minimum wage hike were Democratic Reps. Edward Mazurek of Rockland, Chuck Kruger of Thomaston, Joan Welsh of Rockport, Andrew O’Brien of Lincolnville, and Walter Kumiega III of Deer Isle.

“I reject the idea that this vote is a ‘job-killer’ and believe that given the broad unemployment, high cost of commuting, etc., that working people need a boost,” Kruger said.

Mazurek said the increase would have been an economic boost to the economy by giving the people at the lower range of incomes more spending power.

Welsh said the small increase would greatly help low income seniors who have gone back to work as well asĀ other minimum wage workers.

There is a huge wage disparity in our country and this is a very small bit of help to those on the bottom rung. It may help more young people stay in Maine,” Welsh said.

Voting to kill the bill were Republican Reps. Wes Richardson of Warren, Dana Dow of Waldoboro, Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea, and Jonathan McKane of Newcastle.

Richardson said the increase would not create jobs for Maine people.

“If someone deserves $9 an hour, an employer will pay them $9 an hour,” Richardson said.

Rector said he wants everyone to earn more than the minimum wage but government should not be mandating that level, instead it should be the marketplace. He said he hopes that the steps being taken by the Legislature and governor will improve the economy and then more people will receive higher pay.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. John Tuttle Jr., D-Sanford.