New York Democrats will on Monday propose a hike in the state's minimum wage to $8.50 an hour — a 17 percent increase, according to US news reports.
A bill to be introduced by Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat also calls for the minimum wage to be adjusted each year for inflation, the New York Times reported.
According to the Times, the action "follows similar steps by lawmakers across the country: Delaware recently passed a minimum wage increase, and raises are being considered in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri and New Jersey."
The New York Daily News cited supporters as saying the pay raise was needed as salaries for low-wage earners have not kept up with rising consumer costs.
The paper added that:
The state's current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It has been increased five times since 2000--the last time in 2009, when it automatically went up a dime-an-hour to meet the federal rate.
Raising it to $8.50 an hour would give New York one of the highest rates in the country, only behind such states as Oregon and Washington.
Businesses, meantime, warned that it could "further hurt a battered economy," while Senate Republicans reportedly said the measure could hurt job growth.
According to the Times, Mayor Michael Bloomberg — a "political independent with strong ties to the business community" — supported Silver’s call for the increase.
Silver said further details of the bill would be unveiled Monday at the Capitol.