Assembly Member Michael DenDekker (D/WFP-Queens) today joined Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Labor Committee Chairman Keith Wright, and other Assembly Democrats in introducing legislation into the New York State Assembly that would raise the minimum wage to $8.50.
“Every day,” Assemblyman DenDekker said, “we’re confronted by the stark reality that the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. For too long now, too many New Yorkers have worked long hours for pay rates that aren’t keeping up with the cost-of-living. New York State is an expensive place to live, and my hope is that this legislation will help many of our workers and their families break the cycle of poverty by being paid a more equitable wage.”
The legislation – A.9148 – 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. 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.
“New Yorkers are some of the hardest working people in the country,” Assemblyman DenDekker concluded. “And yet, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and 15 other states have higher minimum wage rates than New York State. It’s time for us to start looking after our workers. And a rise in the minimum wage is just one way to accomplish this. I want to thank Speaker Silver, as well as Chairman Wright, for taking the lead on this important economic issue.”