Increased Minimum Wage Proposal Could Improve Wages, Result in Fewer Jobs
The debate over increasing the state’s minimum wage rages on.
Lawmakers in Albany are considering a proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 an hour. Assembly Democrats are now calling for the age to increase to $9 an hour after President Obama proposed hiking the federal minimum wage to $9 by the end of 2015.
For workers making the minimum the increase is long overdue, a full time worker making minimum wage earns about $15,000 a year.
The proposed hike would also directly affect workers making more than minimum but less than $8.75. Those 747,000 workers make up 9 percent of the state’s work force, according to an analysis by the labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute.
Opponents of a wage hike note that many minimum-wage workers are teens with part-time jobs still living at home. But the FPI analysis says more than eight in 10 of the people making $8.75 or less in New York are at least 20 years old. Most are women and almost half work at least 35 hours a week.
Opponents of the hike, including some business interests, say the increase would actually hurt those lower-wage workers who would get laid off by employers unable to afford suddenly higher payroll costs.
Economists have debated that point for years. Opponents point to a peer-reviewed study last year that concluded New York's minimum wage increase from $5.15 to $6.75 over two years.