New York – UnitedNY today released the following statement regarding Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address:
“We applaud Governor Cuomo for tackling important issues like regulating Stop-and-Frisk and gun control, improving students’ academic performance, and ensuring that funding is made available to help New Yorkers continue to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Sandy.
“While we would have liked to hear the Governor talk more about the need for the Dream Act and regulating wage-theft, we are pleased that he addressed the need for job creation, and the importance of increasing wages for some of New York’s lowest paid workers. The Governor’s commitment to raising the minimum wage is a step in the right direction toward improving conditions for workers, but the proposed increase from $7.25 to $8.75 an hour without indexing it to inflation simply doesn’t go far enough.
“The men and women who would benefit from a real, meaningful increase wash our cars, provide security at airports, take our orders at fast food restaurants, and ensure that shelves are stocked at supermarkets. It is unacceptable the wages in these industries are so low that some people who work full-time are still forced to rely on food stamps, homeless shelters, and other public assistance.
“New York’s minimum wage has only increased $0.10 over the last six years. Workers here earn less than their counterparts in states like Vermont, Oregon and Washington State, where the costs of living are significantly lower. Officials in these states tie increases in minimum wage to inflation so workers don’t fall farther behind. If that were the case in New York, the minimum wage would amount to roughly $10.70 per hour today.
“It is imperative that any discussion about increasing New York’s minimum wage be realistic about just how much money it takes to live in this State, and reflect the needs of the families who work so hard to make ends meet.”