MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A bill that would increase the Vermont minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years has been given final approval in the state Senate.

Vermont Public Radio reports the Senate gave preliminary approval on Thursday. Final approval came Friday. Under the plan, the minimum wage would be raised gradually until it reaches $15 an hour by 2024.

Democratic Sen. Michael Sirotkin, committee chairman, says the bill will help residents struggling with income inequality and pump money back into the state's economy.

Opponents argue the change could hurt small businesses that can't afford to pay higher wages.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott strongly opposes the legislation and believes it will hurt small businesses.


Information from: WVPS-FM,