A House panel wants the state to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by Jan. 1, 2015. Gov. Peter Shumlin proposed the same increase - over a three year period.

Minimum wages for tipped employees would be set to half of regular hourly wages, which would increase annually with the cost of living starting in 2016.

Members of the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs voted 6-2 in favor of the higher minimum wage Tuesday afternoon. H.552 will go to the House Committee on Appropriations before it is voted on by the full House.

The state's minimum wage now is $8.73 per hour for most employees, compared to the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. Vermont has the highest minimum wage in New England.

In March, Shumlin joined President Barack Obama and three other New England governors in calling for a gradual rise to $10.10 by 2017. The nearly 16 percent increase pales in comparison to rates of $15 per hour requested by witnesses at a public hearing in March.

Republican Reps. Brian Savage, R-Swanton, and Warren Van Wyck, R-Ferrisburgh, voted against H.552. Both said they also would have opposed a three-year step-up to $10.10 if that had come to a vote.