Cuomo's Proposed Minimum Wage Hike Receives Mixed Reactions
Minimum wage workers will getting a pay raise if Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets the $1.50 hike he called for during his State of the State address Wednesday -- but some advocates say they want more. NY1's Grace Rauh has the story.
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If you work at a full-time minimum wage job in New York -- earning $7.25 an hour -- you make about $15,000 a year.
"We propose raising the minimum wage to $8.75 an hour," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his speech. "It's the right thing to do. It's the fair thing to do. It is long overdue. We should have done it last year. Let's do it this year."
Many supporters of a minimum wage hike were quick to applaud the move.
"People in the state are hurting -- they are struggling to survive. And it is long past time," Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said.
But some are worried the Governor's plan lacks a key element -- it does not call for future wage increases that would be tied to the rate of inflation.
"We need to include a mechanism that will insure the minimum wage will rise," Appelbaum said.
The Business Council of New York State is concerned about the proposal as well.
Officials there worry that a rise in the minimum wage would create new costs for businesses. Republicans in the state Senate have opposed an increase as well.
"We have to do more to help businesses grow and create new jobs," Republican Senate Conference Leader Dean Skelos said in his response to Cuomo's speech.
Albany lawmakers have been debating the issue for the past year.
Last January, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver proposed raising the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50, with future increases that would be tied to the rate of inflation.
At the time, Cuomo refused to endorse the plan, saying he would study the proposal.
The Independent Democratic Conference -- which is sharing power with Republicans in the Senate -- supports a minimum wage increase.
If Cuomo's plan is approved by state lawmakers, New York would have one of the highest minimum wages in the country.
In New York City, there are calls for the minimum wage to go up even more.
City Comptroller John Liu recently proposed raising it over the next five years to $11.50 an hour.