In his 2013 State of the State Address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for New York State's minimum wage to increase from $7.25 to $8.75 per hour, a move that could affect Southampton area low-wage workers.
The federal minimum wage was increased to $7.25 in 2009, superseding New York's existing state minimum of $7.15 an hour. The minimum wage has now remained flat in New York for about three and a half years, and Cuomo said it is time for another bump.
Raising the minimum wage by $1.50, as Cuomo proposes, would give New York the third highest state minimum in the country, behind Oregon, which stands at $8.95, and Washington, at $9.19.
Southampton Patch asked the fans of our Facebook page what they think of the proposal. The sentiment of the respondents is that the move is overdue — but still falls short.
Lisa said, "We live in one of the most expensive states. It should be at least $10.75."
Nishwe said, "It should be higher than that — $10 should be the minimum."
David said, "It will still be way below the cost of living adjusted for inflation and is the equivalent of just over $3.00 in 1980 when, coincidentally, the minimum wage was $3.10."
Nicole said, "About time," Kathy said, "Not enough," and Aneta said, "About time but not enough!"
In 2012, Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr., I-Sag Harbor, co-sponsored a bill introduced by Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver that would have bumped the state minimum wage up to $8.50 an hour. The new minimum would have taken effect Jan. 1, 2013, then, under the proposed legislation, it would have risen annually by the rate of inflation. However, the bill failed to gain traction.
Thield said at the time, "We must increase the minimum wage so lower-income families aren't forced to choose between everyday necessities like rent, heat, gas, food and prescription drugs. Raising the minimum wage would also help our local economy by putting money in the hands of people most likely to spend it. This measure will create jobs, not kill them. It's time to get this done for hardworking East End families."
In a statement on the new plan, Silver wrote, "Increasing the minimum wage would benefit over 1 million working New Yorkers. We should be leading the way on this front and living up to our reputation as a state that takes care of our own. But instead, we're falling behind. The neighboring states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont — as well as Washington, D.C. and 15 other states across the country — have a higher minimum wage than New York."
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