Assemblymember Taylor: Minimum Wage Increase Lifts Up Working Families

Stagnant wages are one of the biggest challenges facing hardworking New Yorkers as they attempt to get ahead and build a better life. Today’s real average wage has roughly the same purchasing power as it did 40 years ago, yet necessary costs like food, rent, and health insurance have risen much higher than workers’ pay, putting stress on families trying to get ahead.[1]

The Assembly Majority has consistently fought for a living wage and equal opportunity for all New Yorkers. Not only is it the right thing to do, but we understand that a rising tide lifts all boats. New York is significantly better when everyone succeeds. The Assembly Majority has a fierce commitment to making life better for all, not just a select few. The Assembly Majority passed sweeping changes to the state’s minimum wage laws in 2016 as part of that commitment.

The minimum wage increased again on December 31, 2018, reaching a historic $15.00 per hour for workers in New York City employed by businesses with 11 or more employees and $13.50 per hour for workers employed by businesses with 10 or fewer employees. The minimum wage in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties will increase to $12.00 per hour, and the remainder of New York State will see the minimum wage increase to $11.10 per hour.

Research shows that minimum wage increases boost the economy, not hurt it. States that raised their minimum wage not only saw inflation-adjusted hourly wages rise faster, but also saw faster employment growth in low-wage sectors like retail and hospitality.[2] Minimum wage increases also help level the playing field for women, who make up a majority of minimum wage-earners nationally and have increasingly become their family’s breadwinner.[3],[4]

Raising the minimum wage in New York was much needed and long overdue. Workers had been making less while their bills increased. Unequal wealth distribution exacerbated this problem. On average, New York’s top one-percent brings home $2.2 million annually, while the bottom 99-percent makes $49,617.[5] Closing this economic gap means putting economic power back into the hands of the average person working hard to provide for their loved ones.

As always, the Assembly is fighting to create a pathway to economic security for all New Yorkers. From increasing the minimum wage to enacting paid family leave and making college more affordable and accessible, we’re combating poverty, increasing fairness and helping ensure no New Yorker gets left behind. In 2019, the Assembly Majority looks forward to passing more laws to help hardworking families get ahead.

And remember, my office is here to help. If you have questions about this or any other community issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out by calling my district office at 212-234-1430.



[3] Ibid.