NEW YORK—While state officials work on increasing the state minimum wage to $9 an hour, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is working on getting a $10.10 federal minimum wage.
“Hundreds of thousands of full-time, hard working New York families are living in poverty that don’t have to, which also limits the potential for growth in local economies in every corner of our state,” said Gillibrand in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet with rising cost of gas, groceries, rent, and other basic necessities,” she added.
President Barack Obama said he would work to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 in his State of the Union address but Gillibrand says the $10.10 figure better represents what the minimum wage would be if it had been tied to inflation all along.
The measure, which Gillibrand wants to bring to a floor vote in the next couple months, would boost the Gross Domestic Production by an estimated $33 billion over three years.
Under the proposal, the rise to $10.10 wouldn’t happen right away. The minimum wage would first increase to $8.20 after three months of the bill passing. A year later the wage would increase to $9.15. A year later it would increase to $10.10.
After that, the minimum wage would be indexed to inflation and increase automatically.
A reporter from the Staten Island Advance quoted state Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) as saying Savino doesn’t think an agreement over a new minimum wage can happen.
“While I can understand Senator Savino’s discouragement with Washington—because it certainly is broken—there are things that are done on a bi-partisanship basis, when people focus on core common values to get things done,” said Gillibrand.
Also, while it’s important for state officials to work on increasing the minimum wage, the hypothetical federal increase would supersede those efforts, said Gillibrand.
Support for the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 comes from business groups including the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, and employers such as Costco, according to the senator’s office.