Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wants to raise the state's minimum wage to $9 by this time next year, a full year ahead of the current schedule. “New York’s hardworking men and women are struggling and they cannot afford to wait two more years for a decent raise,” Silver says in a release. “Poverty is not a fair reward for those who work a full-time job. We must do more to ensure that those who work hard for a living are able to make ends meet. Speeding up the implementation of the higher minimum wage is the right thing to do.”
Last March the New York State legislature agreed to incrementally raise the minimum wage three times, with the first increase to $8 an hour kicking in by 2014, the second increase to $8.75 by the end of 2014, and $9 by the end of 2015.
Opponents of raising the minimum wage say that the measure would spur layoffs and pass along skyrocketing price increases on to consumers, claims that have been blunted by actual research.
Earlier this year the state senate's leader, Republican Dean Skelos, opposed an increase in the minimum wage by saying that "83.5% of minimum wage recipients are teenagers living with working parents, adults living alone or dual-earner married couples."
In reality, only 24% of workers who earn the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) or less. $8.11 an hour is the poverty wage level for a single full-time worker with one child.
It's unclear how Silver will push through the wage acceleration, which would also tie future increases to inflation (if the wage was tied to inflation today, it would be over $10). A spokesperson for Skelos responded to Silver's plan in the Daily News: “We have no interest in revisiting the issue at this time."