Assembly to pass raising minimum wage to $9 an hour

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The state Assembly plans to pass a bill today to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour, putting pressure on the Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to support the measure.

Legislative leaders and Cuomo are debating whether to increase the minimum wage, which hasn’t been raised since 2009. President Obama has proposed increasing the minimum wage to $9 an hour, and state leaders have suggested they may wait until Congress acts.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said the minimum wage should be increased independent of federal action. The bill to be approved today would increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour in January and tie future raises to the rate of inflation.

“I think it’s important to put out a minimum-wage bill and have something out there, which is our position,” Silver told reporters yesterday after meeting behind closed doors with Cuomo and legislative leaders.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, has warned that the minimum-wage increases could hurt businesses in New York, and business groups have railed against the measure. Skelos and Senate Republicans yesterday proposed tax breaks for the middle class.

“It always seems the middle-income family is the family that is getting choked in this state,” Skelos said.

Cuomo included a minimum wage of $8.75 in his budget proposal released Jan. 22. He said yesterday that it’s uncertain whether a minimum-wage increase would be included in the budget or dealt with later in the legislative session, which runs until June 20.

“There’s nothing in, there’s nothing out until you have a budget,” Cuomo said. “It’s going to depend on what happens in the discussions in the final few days.”

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