NY Senate shelves plan to allow local minimum wage increases
A proposal to let cities in New York state set their own minimum wages was shelved by lawmakers in the state Senate on Monday — dealing a setback to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and others who want the state to relinquish its total control of the wage.
Instead of scheduling a vote on the measure, the Senate’s Labor Committee moved to send the measure to the Finance Committee. The procedural move was dismissed as a delaying tactic intended to prevent an up-or-down vote on the measure in the Senate.
The bill, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, would allow local governments including New York City to set a minimum wage that is higher than the state’s minimum. New York’s minimum wage is now $8.75 an hour and is already set to increase to $9 per hour at the end of the year.
Members of the Senate’s Republican majority say the state should allow the $9 wage to take effect before considering another increase.
To lawmakers who had hoped to approve another raise — or a bill letting cities set their own wage — Monday’s move was a disappointment. While it remains possible the bill could come up for a vote this year, it’s unlikely.
“Too many New Yorkers struggle to make ends meet because the state’s minimum wage is too low and yet the Senate Republicans refuse to bring this bill to the floor for an actual vote,” said Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has pushed for a $13 minimum and wants authority to set the wage higher in his city. Members of the Senate’s Republican majority, however, say a patchwork of minimum wages would be disruptive to the economy.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed raising the wage to $10.50 an hour statewide and $11.50 in New York City.
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