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New York Governor Proposes Minimum Wage Hikes

January 22, 2015

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) proposed a significant minimum wage hike for both New York State and New York City in the 2015-16 state budget, released January 21.

Cuomo’s plan would raise the state minimum wage to $10.50 an hour by the end of 2016, while the city’s minimum wage would go up to $11.50 to account for the higher cost of living.

Cuomo first announced his plan to raise the minimum wages at a January 18 news conference.

New York State’s minimum wage is currently $8.75; it is scheduled to go up to $9 an hour next year.

Cuomo, however, said at the news conference that a higher minimum wage was necessary to help close the expanding income gap between the rich and the poor.

His new proposal could help raise the wages of some direct-care workers in New York. In 2013, the last year for which data is available, home health aides in the state earned a median hourly wage of just $9.80 an hour.

Home care aides in New York City and surrounding counties who work on Medicaid cases earn at least $10 an hour due to the city’s wage parity law.

With the federal minimum wage set at just $7.25, and with no legitimate prospects for a raise on the horizon, state legislatures have increasingly taken the initiative to enact minimum wage hikes.

The 2014 midterm elections saw four states pass minimum wage raises. All told, 10 states passed minimum wage hikes in 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Cities such as Washington, D.C., Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco all significantly raised their minimum wages.

— by Matthew Ozga

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