New Yorkers: Increase The Minimum Wage, But Not To $15

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A Quinnipiac University Poll released Friday show the majority of New York residents support raising the minimum wage — just not all the way to $15 as proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Some wouldn’t go quite as high at $15,” Maurice Carroll, the assistant director of polling, said in statement. “A few would go even higher. The political and geographical divisions are equally predictable: Republicans are opposed; Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor.”

Currently the state minimum wage is $8.75 an hour. According to the poll, 41 percent support increasing it to something less than $15. After that, 37 percent support an increase to $15, 11 percent support an increase of more than $15 and 8 percent want no increase.

Cuomo, a Democrat, announced Sept. 10 his support for raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour. He was joined by Vice President Joe Biden during his announcement.

Cuomo and his administration have already been looking into ways to increases wages in the state. Back in July the state commission on labor approved a plan to raise wages for fast-food workers to $15 an hour. A statewide minimum wage increase, however, would need approval by the legislation. If approved by the state legislature, the increase would be phased in gradually.

“You’re leading the way for the country,” Biden said during the announcement. “Anyone who works 40 hours a week shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”

Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour but many states, cities and counties have gone well above it. Some cities have even gone as high as $15. No state, however, has increased its minimum wage that much.

The problem is, experts have been divided on if increasing the minimum wage actually helps lower-income individuals. Supporters often argue it will help the poor by allowing them to more easily afford basic necessities. This in turn could stimulate economic activity. Critics say it may actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities.

Though noting it could have positive results overall, even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees any increase of the minimum wage will likely result in at least some job loss.

Union-backed groups have been at the forefront of the current minimum wage movement. The most prominent among them, Fight for $15, has utilized media campaigns and rallies in its efforts to increase wages. Others, like President Barack Obama, have pushed for a $10.10 minimum wage.

While most economists debate over whether raising the minimum wage will hurt or help, some others argue it may not even be necessary. The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) found most workers are able to move beyond the minimum wage after only a year of employment.

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