June 28, 2002
New bill to increase the minimum wage and study indexing is introduced in Senate
A new bill to increase the state's minimum wage has been introduced in the state Senate. The bill would also commission a study of issues related to the minimum wage that would likely include the controversial idea of indexing.
Sen. Guy Vellella (R-Bronx), chair of the Senate Labor Committee, introduced the bill (S.7825) Thursday. The bill is identical to an Assembly bill (A11805-Nolan), which passed Wednesday.
The bill would:
- Increase the minimum wage to $6 per hour in January
2003, and again to $6.75 per hour in January 2004.
- Require the commissioner of the state Department of Labor to complete by March 2004 a study of issues related to the minimum wage, including: the "adequacy" of minimum wage; what percentage the state's minimum wage is of statewide average wages; the relationship of the minimum wage to the federal poverty level for family income; a demographic breakdown of minimum-wage earners, and "the appropriate methodology for implementation of the minimum wage."
The Senate is expected to consider the proposal when it returns to Albany Tuesday, said Tom Minnick, The Council's labor and human resources specialist.
The Council strongly opposes this bill and other proposals to increase the minimum wage, with or without "indexing" that would mandate automatic future increases in the wage.
The Council has long argued that the minimum wage should be debated and decided in Washington, not in Albany and 49 other state capitals.