New Yorkers aren't getting a minimum wage increase, after all. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a deal Sunday night over the state’s upcoming annual budget, according to reports, and it does not include the minimum wage hike previously endorsed by the democratic governor.
Cuomo had called for raising the minimum hourly wage to $10.50 by 2017, with an $11.50 rate in New York City, up from the current rate of $8.75 an hour. Leaders from organized labor and elected officials such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have called on the governor to support a pay hike, and New York Assembly Democrats unveiled their own proposal that was more aggressive than Cuomo’s. But Republicans, who control the State Senate by a one vote margin, oppose such a move.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said the proposed wage boosts were “just like a bidding war” that lacked “any real thought process on how it’s going to impact employers, small businesses.”
The nation’s largest cities are increasingly moving to lift wage floors. Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Oakland, California, have all approved minimum wage increases over the past year. Los Angeles, California, is considering proposals to do the same. In New York state, municipalities cannot lift minimum wages on their own, which puts Albany in control of an eventual pay hike in New York City.
Some labor advocates argue that the Cuomo administration should unilaterally boost minimum pay, since the governor’s office has broad authority on wage matters. In February, for instance, the state’s Labor Department issued an order raising pay for tipped workers such as waiters and housekeepers who were not covered by a previous statewide wage increase.
The budget reportedly includes education and ethics reforms proposed by the governor. The Senate and Assembly are expected to begin voting Tuesday.