The Hunger Action Network, an Albany-based group, said today that the $8.50 minimum wage being proposed today by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wouldn’t be enough to deal with the income inequality issues in the state. The group wants the minimum wage to jump from $7.25 to $10.
The group said that the Assembly proposal is $1 less per hour than the minimum wage bill expected to be introduced in Congress by Democrats this spring. It said that neighboring Connecticut plans to increase its $8.25 minimum wage to between $9.25 and $9.50 by 2014.
“We appreciate Speaker Silver’s leadership in putting the state minimum wage on the table, and recognize that he is trying to be politically realistic in pushing for a smaller increase. But sometimes you need to push for what is right and change the political dynamics,” said Mark Dunlea, the group’s executive director, in a statement.
The group called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to “show leadership” and push for at least $10 an hour.
The National Employment Law Project, a Manhattan-based group, applauded Silver’s planned announcement, but also said the minimum wage.
“We applaud Speaker Silver’s leadership in putting the minimum wage back on Albany’s agenda. $8.50 per hour would be a significant first step towards restoring New York’s badly eroded minimum wage,” said Christine Owens, the group’s executive director, in a statement.
“But over the longer term New York’s minimum wage needs to be even higher in view of the state’s high cost of living and its economy. $8.50 is still below the Federal Poverty Level for a three-person family, and more than $2 less than what New York’s minimum wage would be if it kept up with the cost of living over the years.”