MONTPELIER – The Vermont Senate voted Thursday to override Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of a bill raising Vermont’s minimum wage to $12.55 over two years, setting the stage for a likely House of Representatives vote.
The Senate overwhelmingly voted to override Scott’s veto, voting 24 – 6 in favor of passing a minimum wage increase into law.
Earlier this week, Scott vetoed S.23, legislation that would have raised the minimum wage from $10.96 an hour to $11.55 in 2021 and $12.55 in 2022, with incremental increases after 2022 according to increases in the Consumer Price Index.
In his veto statement, Scott cited the possible economic impacts of a minimum wage hike, including a loss of jobs Scott argued would be acutely felt in Vermont’s more rural areas.
According to the Joint Fiscal Office, a minimum wage increase to $12.55 an hour would affect more than 40,000 workers currently working below that wage while resulting in the loss of 500 jobs in the long-term.
The report also suggested a higher minimum age would result in shorter hours for part-time employees and indirectly increase consumer prices in Vermont as a side effect of a higher cost of doing business.
Franklin County’s two state senators, Sens. Randy Brock and Corey Parent, again voted with Republican counterparts from Rutland and Caledonia counties against raising the minimum wage, as did Grand Isle County Democrat Sen. Dick Mazza.
Sens. John Rodgers and Robert “Bobby” Starr, Democrats who represent Montgomery and Richford as a part of the larger Essex-Orleans senate district, both voted to override Scott’s veto.
The Vermont Senate was expected to override Scott’s veto, previously passing S.23 23 – 6, with only Rodgers not voting due to absence.
While the Vermont House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved S.23 when the minimum wage hike last came before the House, it did so falling several votes short of the 100 votes needed to guarantee a veto’s override.
Only one member of Franklin County’s delegation to the Vermont House of Representatives – Rep. Mike McCarthy, D – St. Albans – voted in favor of raising the minimum wage.
Raising the minimum wage has been a longtime priority for Democratic leadership in the Vermont Legislature.
The House attempted to override Scott’s veto of another Democratic priority last week – the establishment of a mandatory paid family leave program.
That override attempt died after falling a single vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to overturn a veto.