Human Capital & Careers

New York Strikes Deal to Raise Minimum Wage

The increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour will be phased in gradually across the state, with the target being reached by 2021 for some workers.
Katie Kuehner-HebertApril 1, 2016

New York has joined California in crafting a deal that could gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

As part of a $147.2 billion budget agreement between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, workers would receive a gradual increase of the hourly minimum wage to $15, to be phased in differently across the state.

For workers in and around New York City, the target wage would be reached at different dates but would be completed by 2021, while the target wage would be reached at a later date for the rest of the state. New York’s current minimum wage is $9 an hour.

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The plan also includes 12 weeks of paid family leave for people employed for at least six months as well as income tax cuts for households earning less than $300,000.

“We believe that people who work hard should be able to earn a decent living and support a family with dignity,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said Thursday in a news release. “With a statewide $15 minimum wage and the nation’s only 12-week paid family leave program, we are going to prove that the economy can and should work for all.”

Cuomo had originally proposed phasing in the minimum wage increase in New York City beginning in 2019, and in the rest of the state by 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal. He told reporters the final deal was superior.

“I think this is a proposal that can pass, which, by definition, makes it a better proposal,” he said.

The deal lowers the income tax rate over time, from 6.45% to 5.5% for some middle-income families by 2025. Ultimately, six million filers would be affected, with annual savings reaching $4.2 billion by 2025.

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan praised the budget deal, particularly the tax cut for households earning less than $300,000, a priority for the Senate’s Republican majority.

“Today we have passed another responsible budget plan that achieves key goals laid out by our Senate Republican Conference to make New York more affordable for middle-class taxpayers and their families,” Flanagan said.

California passed a measure Thursday to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

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