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Support grows for minimum wage hike for cities

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The idea of allowing cities to set their own minimum wage has support from the head of the state’s black and Hispanic caucus, but the plan faces obstacles elsewhere.

 New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio first proposed the idea of allowing individual cities in New York to set their own minimum wage higher than the state’s current $8 an hour.  The legislature’s chair of the Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, and Asian Caucus, Assemblyman Karim Camara says it would help the lowest income earners cope with higher costs of living.
 “This will be one measure to close the inequality gap and move people out of poverty,” said Camara, a Brooklyn Democrat.
 But Governor Cuomo has called the proposal “chaotic”, and the Co-Leader of the Senate, Jeff Klein, who championed the state’s phased in minimum wage increase, says it’s time to move on to other issues.  
Camara says the phased-in plan, which would raise the minimum wage to $9 in 2016, is “insufficient”.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.