Rhode Island's lowest earners could be about to get their first raise in five years.
The state House of Representatives voted 60-to-8 Monday to raise the state's minimum wage from $7.40 to $7.75 an hour. The Senate approved the measure last week.
Democratic state Rep. Anastasia Williams says the increase is overdue and necessary to help workers in a bad economy. But some Republican lawmakers argue the increase would backfire by prompting struggling small businesses to delay new hires.
Rhode Island food retailers have argued a higher wage will lead to an increase in food prices.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee has not said if he supports the increase.
The increase, if approved, would go into effect in 2013.
The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8, and it's $8.25 in Connecticut.