Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week that he’s finally ready to make a push for a higher state minimum wage. In fact, he cited the issue as one of his legislative priorities for 2013. What’s taken him so long?
The federal minimum wage was last raised four years ago, and living on $7.25 an hour is no easier now than it was then. In fact, costs for essentials like food, rent, transportation and energy have gone up to such an extent during that period, $9.50 is now considered the minimal “living” wage in the Capital Region. (In New York City it’s $12.75!)
So what’s Cuomo waiting for? Last year, as in the past, it was Senate Republicans, who refused to even bring a bill that was approved in the Assembly to a floor vote. But even Majority Leader Dean Skelos signaled at one point that he was ready to take the plunge.
That should be easier now with the state’s Independent Democratic Coalition joining ranks with Senate Republicans.
It should also be easier with new minimum wage hikes of between 10 and 35 cents taking place this year in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Heck, half of those are red states, and
New York probably has higher living costs than all of them!
So it’s time for New York to get off the dime and give its 1.4 million minimum-wage workers a few extra quarters. They need more of an incentive to work, and more money to support themselves.