There’s a lot to report on the minimum wage today, but I’ll start with the biggest news: the New York legislature has approved the state’s 2013-2014 budget, which includes a minimum wage increase. Specifically, the minimum wage will rise from $7.25 to $8.00 per hour on December 31, 2013, to $8.75 one year later, and $9.00 on December 31, 2015.
This is good news for minimum wage workers in New York, nearly two-thirds of whom are women. But the phased-in minimum wage increase in the budget is weaker than the increase that the state Assembly passed just a few weeks ago, which would have raised New York’s minimum wage to $9.00 per hour in one step in January 2014, then indexed the wage annually to keep up with inflation. The budget also drops a provision in the Assembly-passed bill that would have raised the minimum cash wage for tipped food service workers from $5.00 to $6.21 per hour, but it does provide a path to an increase for these workers by authorizing the labor commissioner to have a wage board examine the adequacy of New York’s tipped minimum wage, then issue an order to raise the wage. Read more »
Momentum just keeps building towards a higher minimum wage. I reported last week that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which now has at least 25 co-sponsors in the Senate and 131 in the House. That’s a strong show of support – but we know the bill will still face opposition from some in Congress. So it’s heartening to see that a number of states aren’t waiting for the federal government to act to raise wages for their lowest-paid workers.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve noted proposed minimum wage increases in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, and Rhode Island. And just in the past couple of weeks, legislatures in several of these states have taken steps to move those proposals forward. This movement is especially good news for women, who make up the majority of minimum wage workers across the country and in most states. Read more »
News on the minimum wage just keeps coming this week, and today’s update is from New York. Earlier this month, Governor Cuomo released his budget for 2013-14, which proposes raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 per hour and raising the minimum cash wage for tipped food service workers from $5.00 to $6.03 per hour, effective July 1, 2013. And now a new report from the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) and the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows that the majority of New York workers who would get a raise under Governor Cuomo’s proposal are women — 845,700 women to be exact.
Today, minimum wage workers in New York earn just $14,500 per year — more than $3,600 below the poverty line for a mom with two kids, and far less than a family needs to be economically secure in a state with a notoriously high cost of living. If Governor Cuomo’s proposal becomes law, women earning the minimum wage would see their annual pay rise by $3,000. Tipped food service workers like restaurant servers — who are about 70 percent women nationwide — could get an extra $2,060 per year. Read more »
Hats off to Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, who announced an impressive plan to invest in strengthening the state’s education system, including not only the K-12 and higher education systems, but early education as well. The Governor recommends that $350 million be targeted over four years to expand and improve the state’s early education and care system. This investment would eliminate the state’s waiting list of nearly 30,000 children who need but cannot currently access child care assistance, expand the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) to help early educators and providers offer higher-quality experiences to children and families, increase educational programs and supports for parents and family members, and strengthen efforts to provide comprehensive support to children and families. In addition, new school finance funding would be used to incentivize school districts to offer prekindergarten for four-year-olds.
In order to raise the revenue necessary to support these fundamental education initiatives, Governor Patrick, in his state of the state address, proposed to increase the state income tax by one percent, to 6.25 percent. He also proposed to double personal exemptions and eliminate certain itemized deductions in an attempt to distribute the burden of the tax increase based on ability to pay. Read more »
I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty good today — I’m just hours away from starting a long holiday weekend, and I get to report more happy news on the minimum wage! Today’s update comes from New Jersey, where the General Assembly just passed a bill (A-2162) that would raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour and index the wage to keep pace with inflation. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that over half a million workers — the majority of them women — will get a raise if A-2162 is enacted.
That raise is sorely needed: full-time minimum wage earnings of $14,500 a year leave a mom with two children thousands of dollars below the federal poverty line in a state with one of the highest costs of living in the country. Raising New Jersey’s minimum wage to $8.50 per hour would mean an extra $2,500 per year, which could make a real difference for women and families struggling to make ends meet. And indexing the wage for inflation would help ensure that the buying power of the minimum wage does not erode as it has over the past decades; indeed, if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since the 1960s, it would be more than $10.50 per hour today.
Low-wage workers and their families are not the only ones who would benefit from a minimum wage increase – New Jersey’s economy would get a boost, too. More money in workers’ pockets means more dollars flowing into local businesses, and that means more jobs: according to EPI, raising the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour would generate over $277 million in economic activity in New Jersey, creating close to 2,500 jobs. Read more »
There's good news and bad news for women and families in New York this week.
The good news: The State Assembly recently voted to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour and tie it to the rising cost of living. That would mean an extra $2,500 each year for minimum wage workers in New York, nearly two-thirds of whom are women.
The bad news: To keep up the momentum on this critical issue, we need strong leadership from Governor Cuomo and the state Senate — or the bill is likely to stall.
Good news from New York on the minimum wage: the state Assembly passed a bill yesterday that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour next year and index it to keep pace with inflation. The bill would also raise the minimum cash wage for food service workers (a particularly large segment of tipped workers) from $5.00 to $5.86 per hour and index it for inflation.
This is particularly good news for women, who make up close to two thirds of minimum wage workers in New York. A mom with two kids working full time at $7.25 per hour makes just $14,500 per year, leaving her family thousands of dollars below the poverty line. Raising the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour would provide a meaningful boost of $2,500 each year. And raising the tipped minimum wage for food service workers – like restaurant servers, who are mostly women – to $5.86 per hour would increase their earnings by more than $1,700 per year. Moreover, because women are the majority of minimum wage workers in New York, increasing the minimum wage could help to close the gap between men’s and women’s typical earnings in the state.
But the bill still needs to pass the Senate before it can get to Governor Andrew Cuomo (who has said he supports a minimum wage increase “in principle”). And unfortunately, a number of senators have expressed opposition to the minimum wage bill, trotting out false and tired arguments that an increase would “kill jobs.” Read more »
And in a very exciting development at the federal level today, Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Bruce Braley (D-IA) just introduced the Rebuild America Act in the House. Like its companion bill introduced by Senator Harkin, the bill would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour over three years and then index it for inflation, and would also gradually raise the minimum cash wage for tipped workers from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage. Read more »
I hope you saw the new infographic we posted this morning. I think it makes a pretty clear case for raising the minimum wage! Fortunately, in recent months, quite a few states have been getting the message: legislatures in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York are all considering bills to increase the state minimum wage, including the minimum wage for tipped workers. And in Missouri, state advocates just delivered 175,000 signatures in support of a voter initiative that would get a minimum wage increase on the ballot in November.
As of today, the bill in Connecticut (H.B. 5291) – which passed the state House of Representatives last month – is closest to being law. At $8.25 per hour, Connecticut’s minimum wage is higher than the federal level ($7.25 per hour), but still leaves a mother with two kids more than $1,000 below the poverty line if she works full time. H.B. 5291 would raise the state minimum wage to $8.75 per hour over two years and raise the minimum cash wage for tipped workers from $5.69 to $6.04 per hour by 2015. Read more »
Happy Friday! Welcome to the first of a re-invigorated weekly news and blog round up here on Womenstake. From Fridays here on out, we’ll be sharing with you some links from our partner organizations or to blogs from across the web we think you might find interesting. Sound good? Then let’s get started. Read more »