Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy today signed legislation raising the state minimum wage to $9 an hour over the next two years.

The rate will rise to $8.70 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2014, and to $9 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2015.

”This gradual increase over two years is a balanced approach to helping hard working men and women without adversely impacting the business community," Malloy said in a statement. "Although I believe our nation as a whole should move in this direction, I also think Connecticut needs to lead the way in helping working families.”