AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - With Democrats back in control of the Legislature there is optimism than a bill to increase the minimum wage by a dollar can pass.

Members of labor stood with each other at the Maine state house in support ofthe bill.

It seems every couple of years similar bills are introduced. They are generally backed by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. This year's version calls for increasing it from 7-50 an hour to 8-50 an hour and to adjust it from there based on the rate of inflation.

There is not a large percentage of workers in Maine who actually make minimum wage, but the general feeling is if that rate goes up so will the wages of other workers.

Paul Nickerson of Lewiston says he used to make 18 dollars an hour, now he gets about half that.

"Companies are using the excuse of a bad economy as a reason for paying unfairly low wages. This is not the result of a bad economy it is the cause of the bad economy", he said.

Representatives of small businesses oppose the bill saying forcing them to increase wages will be a huge burden at a time when the economy is still trying to recover. They say it will prevent them from creating jobs leaving the unemployed out of luck.

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