Hawkins: Raise Minimum Wage


Hawkins says state minimum wage enacted is still a sub-poverty wage.

New York minimum wage deal criticized as too high by businesses, too low by labor advocates

on March 21, 2013 at 8:37 AM, updated March 21, 2013 at 9:06 AM
Syracuse, N.Y. -- Minimum-wage workers in New York can look forward to a bump in their paychecks starting next year.

As part of the budget deal announced Wednesday, the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have agreed to raise New York’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour over three years.

The first bump would come in 2014, and the wage would rise to $9 an hour in 2016.

The raise was blasted as too much by business groups and not enough by labor advocates.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses said the overall budget “sends a difficult and regressive message to small business owners across New York,” and that tax cuts for businesses won’t offset the increased costs of the minimum wage.

The Green Party said $9 an hour is still a “sub-poverty” wage.

"This lousy minimum wage deal shows the power of the 1 percent,” said Howie Hawkins, of Syracuse, who ran for governor on the Green Party line. “When it comes to workers and economic justice, Cuomo does the bidding of his corporate donors just as well as any Republican.”

Raising the minimum wage was a centerpiece of Cuomo’s budget plan and State of the State address earlier this year. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Wednesday night that raising the minimum wage was the Democratic Assembly majority's top priority in this budget.

Cuomo tried but failed last year to get a proposal through the Legislature that would have bumped the wage to $8.25 an hour. The Assembly passed the legislation, but Senate Republicans balked, saying business owners cannot afford an increase just as the economy was starting to recover.

Contact Glenn Coin at gcoin@syracuse.com or 470-3251. 

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