June 17, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Raising the minimum wage to $13.13 in New York City would benefit nearly 1.2 million City residents by an average of $100 a week, according to an analysis released today by Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
“New York City deserves the ability to set its own minimum wage,” Comptroller Stringer said. “We are falling behind other states and cities when it comes to the minimum wage, despite the fact that this is the most expensive city in which to live in the nation. There is no one size fits all when it comes to the minimum wage; raising it to $13.13 would make an enormous difference for more than one million New York City residents.”
Currently, New York State’s minimum wage is $8.00/hour, and is set to rise to $8.75/hour in 2015 and $9.00/hour in 2016. These small increases are not sufficient to make a substantial impact on the lives of low-wage workers. Comptroller Stringer supports a State bill co-sponsored by Assemblymember Carl Heastie/Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senator Adriano Espaillat/Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (A8343A/S6518A) which would raise the minimum wage in New York State to $10.10/hour by December 31, 2015 and allow cities and counties to establish local minimum wages of up to 30% above the state minimum, or $13.13.
This local flexibility is particularly important for New York City, where the cost of living is 80% higher than in Buffalo, 70% higher than in Rochester, and 60% higher than in Albany.
Not only is New York City’s cost of living the highest in the State, it is also the highest in the country. Because of this, low-wage workers rely on public programs to subsidize their incomes. The Comptroller’s estimate shows the greatest number of beneficiaries of a raised minimum wage would be in Brooklyn, with 376,000 people seeing a raise in their wages, followed by 348,000 in Queens, 220,000 in the Bronx, 194,000 in Manhattan and 31,000 on Staten Island.
When adjusted for cost-of-living, the City’s current minimum wage is the lowest of any major city in the nation. Many cities across the country have recently increased their municipal minimum wages, helping millions of working families in the process. San Francisco’s is $10.74; San Jose’s is $10.15; Santa Fe’s is $10.51; and Washington D.C.’s is set to rise to $11.50 by 2016. And just this month, Seattle enacted the nation’s highest minimum wage of $15.00/hour.
“New York City should be a leader, not a follower, when it comes to raising the minimum wage. The time has come for the Big Apple to pay its workers a wage that works for employees and employers,” Stringer said.