Minimum Wage Veto
From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Susan John • Chair, Labor Committee
Governor’s veto a slap in the face to hard-working New Yorkers
The governor’s decision to veto bipartisan legislation raising the state’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15 per hour destroys the bridge out of poverty that tens of thousands of New Yorkers are trying to cross. Essentially, the governor is telling those people to continue to work longer hours for less pay and less of a chance to build a better future for themselves and their families. What he’s done is robbed them of their dreams.
After years of pressure, the Senate finally agreed to join the Assembly in passing historic legislation to increase the state minimum wage to $6.00 per hour on January 1, 2005; $6.75 per hour on January 1, 2006; and $7.15 per hour on January 1, 2007.
Food service workers receiving tips would also receive yearly wage increases under the plan. The tip minimum wage would climb from the current $3.30 to $3.85 per hour on January 1, 2005; $4.35 on January 1, 2006; and $4.60 on January 1, 2007.
Governor’s lack of leadership
The governor claims that he believes in a higher minimum wage, but wants the federal government to implement it. It’s yet another example of the governor passing the buck and trying to get other people to do the job he was elected to do.
The truth is, the president and his administration have no plans to raise the minimum wage. Is the governor going to put real pressure on his political friends in Washington, or is it just more of his empty rhetoric?
New York’s workers deserve better
We should reward people who work full-time every day to support their family, but struggle to survive living paycheck to paycheck. It’s unacceptable that they work full-time only to collect wages that keep them in poverty.
While opponents of a minimum wage increase argue that a minimum wage increase only benefits teenagers, a study by the Economic Policy Institute found that 68 percent of the workers who would directly benefit from a wage increase are adults. In addition, women account for 60 percent of those earning less than $7.25 an hour, and of those, almost half have children to clothe and feed.
Something worth noting is that the governor – who earns $179,000 a year, or roughly $86 an hour – is closing the door of opportunity on someone making $5.15 an hour, or less than $11,000 a year.
Assembly leads the way to higher wages
For years, the Assembly has passed legislation raising the minimum wage. It’s a shame that we finally got the Senate to join us this year, only to watch the governor heartlessly veto the agreement. Fortunately, the process doesn’t end here. The Assembly plans to override the governor’s veto and we urge the Senate to do the same. The state has a moral responsibility to lift people out of poverty when we can. Not doing so is a betrayal of our obligation to them.
Visit http://assembly.state.ny.us/ comm/WAM/2004MinWage/ for more information on the state’s minimum wage.
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