The days after the mayor releases his preliminary budget are usually filled with protests by advocates stomping their feet, decrying cuts to favored programs on the steps of City Hall.
But today, the labor groups, workers, and council members rallying outside City Hall were there to hail Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call during his State of the City speech for an increase in the minimum wage.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t appear inclined to grant Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request to grant the city control of its own local minimum wage–setting the stage for another major policy disagreement between the state’s leading two Democrats.
Speaking on The Capitol Pressroom radio show this morning, Mr. Cuomo was directly asked whether he favored Mr. de Blasio’s plan, which would give the city the freedom to raise the minimum without Albany’s permission. Though he didn’t reject it outright, Mr. Cuomo suggested a potentially “chaotic” and “unproductive” situation would emerge if every city set its own wage laws.
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared today in his State of the City address that he will urge state lawmakers to grant New York City the power to raise its own minimum wage, setting up yet another struggle between progressives and right-leaning lawmakers in the state.
This campaign, however, could face even more resistance in Albany than Mr. de Blasio’s plan to hike taxes on the rich to fund universal prekindergarten, experts say.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to hang another key proposal of his early administration on Albany, announcing plans today to push state lawmakers to allow the city to set its own minimum wage during his first State of the City address.
New York’s economy may be on firmer ground than, say, Michigan’s, but that’s not saying much. Statewide, the unemployment rate of 8.5 percent is nearly a half-point higher than the national jobless rate. In New York City, the unemployment rate is about 9.5 percent.
So now is not the time for politicians to pass an election-year increase in the state’s minimum wage, currently set at $7.25 an hour. Hikes in the minimum wage invariably lead to fewer new entry-level jobs, and that’s something the city and state can ill afford.
Democrats in the State Assembly want to raise New York’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50. At 17 percent, it would be the biggest one-time increase in the minimum wage in state history.
It would also be the wrong move at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons.
Perhaps it would have been better if Council Speaker Christine Quinn simply came out in favor of the so-called “living wage” bill without any changes or revisions. At least she would have been taking a stand. Not a very smart stand, but a stand all the same.
Instead, the speaker has cobbled together a bill that is being touted as a “compromise.”