HARTFORD — Marquis Smith of New Haven takes home less than $300 a week from his minimum wage job at a mall gift shop.
The 26-year-old Iraq War veteran is single and doesn't have kids, "but even with that being the case,'' he said, "it's still difficult for me to make ends meet."
Democratic lawmakers want to offer workers like Smith some help: On Tuesday, they proposed an increase in the state's minimum wage, from the current $8.25 an hour to $9 an hour on July 1, and to $9.75 an hour in July 2013. Also part of the proposal: linking the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index to help low-wage workers' salaries keep pace with inflation.
The $9 figure...