The minimum wage increase that has passed the New York State Assembly but is stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate and is not drawing support from Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo would directly benefit 10.1 percent of New York workers. The proposed increase from the federal minimum wage of $7.25 to $8.50 would affect 880,000 workers currently earning less than $8.50 an hour, a new report from the Fiscal Policy Institute finds, and another 200,000 workers making just over $8.50 might benefit from a spillover effect.
A majority of the workers who would get a raise live in New York City and the surrounding area—352,000 in New York City, 126,500 on Long Island, and another 72,500 in suburban counties. But several upstate counties would actually see a disproportionate number of workers benefit, among them Broome County and Oneida County, where 12.6 and 12.5 percent of workers would get raises, respectively, and Erie County where the figure is 11.4 percent. That's another 71,400 workers getting a better standard of living in return for their work.
Republican opponents of raising the minimum wage, trying to claim that their opposition is in the best interests of low-wage workers, have argued that because workers earning more money would pay more taxes, earning as much as $1.25 more per hour would actually hurt them financially. But an issue brief from the Fiscal Policy Institute and the National Employment Law Project points out that, for a "4-person family with two minimum wage earners, take-home pay would rise by nearly $2,700. That’s a substantial increase for a family with gross earnings of a little over $30,000."