Senator Carlucci Calls for Increasing the NYS Minimum Wage

 

Emotional Plea from Rockland Girl Scout Hannah Buckler, Advocates to Help Working Families

NEW CITY, NYWith families in the Hudson Valley struggling to make ends meet in a recovering economy, Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) today came out in support of raising the New York State minimum wage to meet the rising costs of living expenses.

Standing in front of CWA Local 1107 headquarters in New City, Senator Carlucci joined with Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Chairman of the Rockland County Working Families Party Bob Milone and CWA official, and New City Girl Scout Hannah Buckler who offered an emotional plea based off of her own experience with working families in Rockland County.

“Raising the minimum wage will make life a lot easier for hundreds of thousands of our lowest paid workers and help provide a jump-start to the Hudson Valley economy,” said Senator Carlucci.  “In Rockland and Orange Counties, thousands of our neighbors are struggling to get by on a minimum wage that simply does not meet the rising costs of living expenses.  We need the State Legislature to act next session to raise the minimum wage and help New York’s working families.”

The Senate Republican leadership decided not to bring the bill to the floor for an up or down vote.

The Senator would like to see legislation passed and signed into law during next year’s legislative session when the Senate and Assembly return.

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski said, “Earlier this year, the Assembly passed legislation increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour. This legislation will help working class New Yorkers receive a fair wage and provide for their family.  I join with Senator Carlucci in urging the Senate to bringing this important issue to the floor for a vote.”

The bill would have increased the minimum wage by January 1, 2013.  By January 1, 2014, and for each following January thereafter, the Commissioner of Labor would calculate an adjusted minimum wage by increasing the current minimum wage by the rate of inflation for the most recent 12 month period.  The commissioner would use the CPI-U (Consumer Price Index- all urban communities), or a successor index that is routinely calculated by the US Dept of Labor, if the rate of inflation is greater than zero percent.

The bill also called for increasing the minimum wage for “food service workers.”  For 2013, it would have increased to $5.86 per hour.  After January 1, 2014 and every year after, the Commissioner of Labor would have been required to establish an adjusted minimum wage tied to the rate of inflation.

Advocates in support of the bill argue that the value of the minimum wage has been eroding due to the rising costs of everything from groceries, utility bills, and healthcare.  A total of 18 states along with the District of Columbia have higher minimum wage rates, with New York’s minimum wage equating to roughly $10.80 per hour today if the minimum wage had kept place with the rate of inflation over the past 40 years.

New York State’s minimum wage has only increased by a dime in the last five years.  There are close to 700,000 minimum wage earners, yet for full time work, that means just a meager $290 per week in salary, or $15,080 for a full-time, year-round worker. 

Recent public opinion surveys confirm an overwhelming level of statewide support for increasing the minimum wage.  The charts below show support stretches across partisan and geographical boundaries:

Marist College Institute for Public Opinion April 18, 2012 (Support for Measure)

Q: Is raising the minimum wage a good idea because it adds money to people's income during difficult times?

Democrats

GOP

Ind/Other

Suburban

Urban

Upstate

83%

59%

65%

73%

74%

68%

Siena College Research Institute May 6-10, 2012 (Support for Measure)

Q: Do you support or oppose the minimum wage increase in New York from $7.25 to $8.50?

Democrats

GOP

Ind/Other

Suburban

Urban

Upstate

88%

58%

75%

77%

86%

70%

Quinnipiac University Polling Institute April 4, 2012 (Support for Measure)

Q: Would you support or oppose raising the minimum wage in New York State, which is now $7.25?

Democrats

GOP

Ind/Other

Suburban

Urban

Upstate

88%

58%

75%

77%

86%

70%