Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo proposed on Thursday gradually raising the state’s minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10.50 — a less aggressive plan than the Senate passed last year.

For months, the big question has been: What number would DeLeo come up with? And in a speech to business leaders, he started with a nod to what he called a careful balancing act.

"One that involves one that involves improving conditions for workers at the bottom of our wage scale while creating a climate that permits businesses to create jobs," he said.

The House proposal would raise the minimum wage to $9 on July 1, $10 next year and $10.50 in 2016.

The Senate passed a larger wage hike in November. That bill raises the minimum wage to $11 dollars an hour over the same three-year period. It would also tie future increases to inflation.

DeLeo's plan wouldn't do that.

“They will not be indexed to any economic factors,” he said.

The speaker's minimum wage plan includes a series of business-friendly changes to the state’s unemployment insurance system. The Senate separated the two issues. Eventually, the chambers will have to come together to try to hash out their differences.