Lawmakers reach deal on minimum wage
State lawmakers reportedly reached a tentative deal on Monday to raise the minimum wage in New York state over the next three years, according to the NY Times.
The state minimum wage is current $7.25, which Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democratic members of the legislature have argued has not kept up with the rising cost of living.
The new plan would result in an eventual raise of $9 by the start of 2016.
The minimum wage would increase to $8 per house next year.
Republicans, reportedly concerned that raising the minimum wage would hurt businesses in a fragile economy, apparently agreed to the increase in exchange for tax breaks, according to the NY Times.
But Mike Durant, New York State director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said the tax breaks are not enough.
“Does it help?” he asked. “Sure. Does it mitigate the damage completely? Absolutely not.”
Conversely, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum said the increase is not enough.
“People in New York are struggling to survive, with 21 percent of all people in New York City, a city of extraordinary wealth, living below the federal poverty line,” Appelbaum said. “$8 per hour is still better than $7.25 per hour, although New York’s working poor need and deserve more.”
Appelbaum wanted an immediate $9 per hour increase.
Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos said that the plan negotiated on Monday would include $700 million in new tax cuts for businesses and families.
The negotiations are part of an overall state spending plan that must be finalized by April 1.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat