Assembly Democrats passed a bill on Tuesday that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9, reported the Times-Union.
However, the bill, which also includes a provision indexing the minimum wage to rise automatically with the rate of inflation, may live a very short and temporary life as its fate rests with the a majority Republican-led Senate, which opposes it.
"We believe poverty is not a fair reward for those who work a full-time job," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said at an afternoon news conference.
However, Assembly Democrats seemed clear that the bill’s passage would likely stand as little more than a symbolic statement, as Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos attacked the bill as "counterproductive," and in the past has questioned the need for a minimum wage hike, reported the paper.
Currently, there are 925,000 people in New York earning the minimum wage. At $7.25, this translates into just over $15,000 a year in income.
Republicans contend the vast majority of these people are teenagers and second-job holders in a family, although union leaders and several workers who attended the news conference testified they were trying to support a family on minimum wage.
However, Skelos did hint that he might support the bill’s passage it if it were appropriately paired with other goodies.