April 12, 2012

Assembly Announces Public Hearings on Minimum Wage

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Keith Wright, chair of the Labor Committee, today announced a series of public hearings in the coming weeks to seek input on raising the minimum wage in New York so that all New Yorkers are able to travel the path to prosperity.

Speaker Silver and Assemblyman Wright have proposed legislation (A.9148) to raise the minimum wage in New York to $8.50 an hour and index it to inflation to ensure wages do not erode in the future.

"These hearings are an important next step in the process to raise the minimum wage," said Silver. "It is important for our communities to speak up. Raising the minimum wage fairly rewards low-wage workers, helping those who are striving to help themselves and in the process, giving a boost to local economies."

Three hearings are scheduled around the state:

Monday, April 23, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
163 W. 125th Street

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
Common Council Chambers
233 East Washington Street

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
City Hall, Council Chambers, 13th Floor
65 Niagara Square

"Corporate profits of low-wage employers are soaring in this economy. At the same time, the wages of hard working families are eroding. We must break this hopeless cycle," said Wright. "Low-wage workers will support their families by spending this extra money at businesses in their own neighborhoods. There is no doubt. Raising the minimum wage will spur economic growth and create jobs."

The legislation calls for the minimum wage to increase to $8.50 in January of 2013. The minimum wage will be indexed, requiring an increase each year to adjust for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Indexing will begin January of 2014. The legislation will also set wages for food service workers who receive tips at $5.86. This wage will also be indexed annually to adjust for inflation.

The minimum wage in New York has increased only ten cents in the last six years. It was raised with the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in 2009. Prior to that, the minimum wage was $7.15, which was set in 2007.

The District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and 15 other states have higher minimum wage rates than New York State. Ten other states have passed legislation indexing the minimum wage to ensure the minimum wage will not erode each year as the cost of living rises.