Gov Hochul's Budget Falls Short. We Can't Index Wages Without Raising Them First
Raise the Wage Act reaches 2 million more New Yorkers than Hochul's plan.
ALBANY, NY (02/01/2023) (readMedia)-- In response to Governor Kathy Hochul's proposed Executive Budget, which fails to raise the minimum wage prior to indexing it, the Raise Up NY coalition urged the Governor and lawmakers to first raise the minimum wage to at least $21.25 by 2027. Raising the minimum wage to at least $21.25, will restore its lost value before automatic annual adjustments are implemented. The Governor's budget book also frames the issue as primarily a concern for youth employment, when 71% of workers making low wages are adults 25 or older, and 28% are parents of young children.
"No one can live off of the current minimum wage anymore! Over the last few years, prices have skyrocketed making it difficult to provide for myself and my family. As a 34-year-old man, and as the sole income earner in my family, I can't wait any longer for a raise, we need relief now! We are urging those in power to do the right thing and raise the minimum wage." said Smiling Estrella, Chipotle employee, 32BJ SEIU member.
"We're encouraged by Governor Hochul's commitment to indexing New York's minimum wage, but it's just not enough. Indexing alone will deliver a $670/year raise to 900,000 workers, whereas first raising the minimum wage to $21.25 gives 2.9 million workers a $3,300 raise. That's 2 million people the Governor's plan doesn't reach, and $2,500 less in their pockets than under the Raise the Wage Act. That's rent, that's two months of groceries, that's part-time childcare. That's the difference between eating and heating. Governor Hochul and lawmakers need to raise the minimum wage before indexing," said Tal Frieden, Raise Up New York spokesperson and ALIGN Campaign Coordinator.
New Yorkers are living through the worst cost-of-living-crisis in 40 years-and underpaid workers are bearing the brunt of the crisis. With the minimum wage frozen at $15 an hour downstate, wages are now worth 15% less than they were in 2019. Wages must catch up to where they would be if New York's $15 minimum wage had increased annually since 2019 to keep up with rising prices and increased worker productivity-which translates to at least $21.25 by 2027 as proposed in the Raise the Wage Act (S1978/A2204), sponsored by Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Latoya Joyner.
Governor Hochul's proposal to only increase the minimum wage to keep up with future inflation is projected to deliver raises of only about 60 cents a year in 2024, and 35 or 40 cents a year in 2025 and 2026. That translates to an average annual raise of only $670 by 2026-compared to $3,300 under the Raise the Wage Act. Moreover, only about 900,000 workers state-wide would receive raises under the Governor's plan as compared to 2.9 million New York workers under the Raise the Wage Act. The impact of the Raise the Wage Act would be similar to New York's 2016 $15 minimum wage legislation-which raised pay for 1 in 3 workers by more than $3,000 a year once fully phased in.
Raise Up NY is a coalition of workers, labor, community, and businesses-including ALIGN-NY, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, Caring Majority, Churches United for Fair Housing, Citizen Action of New York, Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, Community Voices Heard, Construction and General Building Laborers' Local 79, CWA D1, For the Many, Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network, Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, Human Services Council, Indivisible Nation Brooklyn, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Legal Aid New York, Legal Momentum, The Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Make the Road NY, National Employment Law Project, New York Communities for Change, Partnership for the Public Good Retail Action Project, RWDSU, SEIU 32BJ, 1199SEIU, Strong Economy for All Coalition, Sunnyside Community Services, Teamsters Joint Council 16, Teamsters Local 804, Tompkins County Worker Center, UAW Region 9, UAW Region 9A, Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH), Workers Center of Central New York, Worker Justice Center of New York, and Workers United - that backs legislation, which would raise New York State's minimum wage and ensure there are annual minimum wage increases so that it won't fall behind ever again.