New York’s progressive stalwarts offered tepid praise for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement on Sunday that he would seek to raise the minimum wage again.
Local community organization Make the Road board member Mauricio Jimenez thanked Cuomo but said the hike falls short of the $13 minimum wage the governor supported of a during the 2014 elections.
"We are heartened that the governor recognizes the need for a higher wage in New York City, but dismayed that he backs away from his 2014 promise," Jimenez wrote. "This is a step, but we need much more."
The Working Families Party Director Bill Lipton said: “The truth is it’s nearly impossible to raise a family in this state on even $12 or $13 an hour,” wrote WFP on Sunday.
Cuomo’s proposal would raise the New York City minimum wage to $11.50 per hour, from the current $8.75, by January, 2016. The rest of New York State would see an increase to $10.50.
Cuomo told reporters that the disparity was due to New York City being the most expensive market in the country.
The statewide minimum wage increased to $8 an hour from $7.50, in January 2014. It rose to $8.75 this month, and will reach $9 an hour in 2016, unless Cuomo’s new plan is adopted.
State lawmakers could get pay raise
Cuomo also proposed Monday that the state create a commission to review pay for commissioners, officials and lawmakers.
"To attract the best to state government, salaries for legislators, statewide officials and commissioners need to be commensurate with the talent needed to reshape New York," a memo from the governor's office said. "Any increase also needs to be linked to reform."
The salary commission would be staffed by one appointee each named by the governor, the state Senate and the Assembly, and would meet every four years.
Lawmakers pressured Cuomo last month to raise their current $79,500 base salary, which many supplement with outside jobs.
Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver is paid $121,000 a year, and reported $650,000 in fees for his outside legal work. The New York Times reported that Silver may be under federal investigation for failing to disclose some of his his part-time legal work.
A Siena College earlier that month found that 63 percent of New York State voters opposed raising state lawmakers' pay.