NEW YORK—The New York State Assembly passed a bill on March 5 to raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour.
Although unlikely, if the bill passes the state senate and is signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The bill also includes a provision for further minimum wage increases tied to inflation.
The number of workers earning the minimum wage in New York is rising. In 2012, 113,000 people were being paid the minimum wage, compared to 91,000 in 2011, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The state assembly is dominated by democrats, the majority of whom support a minimum wage increase. The bill will face difficulty in the Senate, where a republican bloc coupled with five breakaway democrats will oppose the legislation.
Sen. Jeff Klein (D-N.Y.), representing Bronx, leads the breakaway group.
“Sen. Klein strongly supports a minimum wage increase and expects to see an increase passed as part of this year’s budget package,” Klein’s spokesman told The Business Review.
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. When a state passes legislation for a minimum wage higher than the federal mark, that wage overrides the federal minimum. Washington has the highest minimum wage in the United States, at $9.19 per hour.
If federal minimum wage legislation had kept up with inflation, the minimum wage would currently be $10.59 in the United States, according to Raise the Minimum Wage, a project of the National Employment Law Project.