Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, announced today that he is advancing legislation to accelerate by one year New York’s scheduled minimum wage hike. The bill would increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour by Dec. 31, 2014, a year ahead of schedule, and it would tie future hikes to the inflation rate.
New York’s minimum wage hike of 75 cents an hour, to $8, takes effect tomorrow. It is scheduled to go up to $8.75 an hour on Dec. 31, 2014 and $9 an hour Dec. 31, 2015.
“New York’s hardworking men and women are struggling and they cannot afford to wait two more years for a decent raise,” Silver said in a statement. “Poverty is not a fair reward for those who work a full-time job. We must do more to ensure that those who work hard for a living are able to make ends meet. Speeding up the implementation of the higher minimum wage is the right thing to do.”
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, Ontario County, said in a statement that he is against Silver’s proposal.
“Accelerating the minimum-wage increase hurts job creation and stifles business growth. Speeding up the rate hike will result in fewer entry-level jobs in the marketplace at a time when we desperately need more employment opportunities and an improved business environment,” he said. “New York’s minimum wage will increase in two days. Only in Albany will someone ask for a second raise before they’ve even gotten the first.”
The state’s law already ties New York’s minimum wage to the federal standard, Kolb said.
The Hunger Action Network of New York State, meanwhile, said Silver’s proposal is not enough.
“More than half of Americans think the federal minimum wage should be at least $10.10 an hour. A state like NY with its high cost of living should always be a few bucks above the federal,” Mark Dunlea, executive director of the organization.
Silver said workers would be making more than $10 an hour if the federal minimum wage had kept up with inflation. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
If the federal minimum had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be $10.74 an hour, according to RaisetheMinimumWage.com, a project of the National Employment Law Project.
New York is one of 13 states whose minimum wage will go up in 2014.
(Journal News file photo of Sheldon Silver.)