On Tuesday, the New York State Assembly, led by its Democratic majority – passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour with automatic increases tied to inflation. The bill now waits on the State Senate for passage, and Senate Republicans have expressed caution that a minimum wage hike could do more harm than good.
Democrats have argued that the current minimum wage – $7.25 per hour – is untenable for the working poor and raising the rate would help with the State’s economic recovery from the recent recession. While a hike to the minimum wage would certainly be a boon to many in New York State, the proposal passed by the Assembly certainly would not propel anyone earning it into the upper class.
A wage of $9 per hour for a full-time job equates to roughly just over $18,000 per year – before taxes. In a City as expensive as New York, that kind of annual wage would be tough to live on.
While raising the minimum wage – and implementing automatic raises tied to cost of living increases – is a good first step, we hope that our elected officials make the growing number of New Yorkers living in poverty a priority.