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Mass. House approves hike in minimum wage

The state minimum wage would climb 38 percent to $11 by 2017 under legislation that got a push toward Governor Deval Patrick’s desk on Wednesday.

The House on Wednesday ratified a compromise, which passed the Senate last week, that would also bump tipped workers’ hourly wages by 31 percent.

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Agreed to by a conference committee last week, the House-Senate compromise is designed in part to head off an effort to lay the minimum wage question before voters in the November elections. The committee behind that effort said Wednesday it would continue gathering signatures to support that ballot push until Patrick signs the measure, which he is likely to do.

House members voted 124-24 to back the compromise, with six Republicans joining with Democrats in support, following last week’s 35-4 Senate vote.

Critics said the measure does not do enough to satisfy business concerns about unemployment insurance and would saddle small businesses with increased payroll costs.

With final votes expected in the House today and the Senate on Thursday, the bill could reach Patrick by Thursday.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.
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