Massachusetts legislators are considering a substantial increase in the state minimum wage for the first time in four years, setting up a showdown between advocates backing low-wage earners and business activists, both still struggling from the slow economy.
“It’s long overdue,’’ said state Senator Marc R. Pacheco, a Democrat from Taunton who sponsored the bill in the Senate.
The bill would gradually raise the minimum wage from $8 to $11 an hour by 2015 and then adjust it for inflation. The minimum wage for tipped employees such as waiters would jump from $2.63 to $6.30, according to the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.
While the state has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, the issue has gained steam recently, with advocates and opponents saying that passage of the bill is likely, in one form or another.