Assembly Democrats today are holding the first of three public hearings across the state on the minimum wage, featuring testimony from clergy, advocates and lawmakers in Manhattan this afternoon.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Labor Chair Keith Wright sponsor a bill to increase the hourly rate from $7.25 to $8.50, tying future increases to the rate of inflation. The bill has been met with opposition from business groups and Senate Republicans, who say it would increase costs on small businesses and result in job loss.
Wright and Silver argue that the increased wages would immediately reenter the economy and result in something of a stimulus. You can hear Wright’s opening remarks below.
The hearing continues into this afternoon. You can watch live here. A list of those testifying can be found after the jump.
MOA Wright MW by jonathoncampbell125
Mark Dunlea, Hunger Action Network of New York; James Parrott, Fiscal Policy Institute; Thomas Lucania, Office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.; and Denny Marsh and Philip J. Malebranche, Neighbors Together.
Members of the clergy also will testify, including Rev. Jamal Nelson; Rev. Morgan Thomas; Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition; Rev. Vernon Williams; Bishop Ronald Bailey; Rev. Gabriel Salguero, National Latino Evangelicals; and Rev. Jennifer Kottler, Park Avenue Christian Church.
Also providing testimony are citizens Anthony Guzman, Curtis Pilgrim, Bertha Lewis, Christina Jackson, Alicia Allen, Angel Olmedo, David Jones and Rocio Loyola Citizen.