For Immediate Release: February 27, 2013 Contact: Gary Ginsburg | garykginsburg@gmail.

com | 518-817-6193 Jonathan Davis | | 917-544-2213

Senate Democratic Conference Calls For Minimum Wage Increase
(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today called for immediate action to raise the New York State minimum wage and index future increases to the rate of inflation. The conference held a press event stating that with the support of all 27 Democratic Conference Senators and the expressed support of multiple other Senators in various media outlets, legislation to raise the minimum wage and index it to the rate of inflation would pass the Senate and should be brought to the floor. “The time has come to raise the state‟s minimum wage and help break the cycle of poverty faced by over 1.1 million hard working New Yorkers which blocks them from achieving the American Dream,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Raising the New York‟s minimum wage and indexing it to the rate of inflation is supported by the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers, across the political spectrum. I urge immediate action to ensure that all New Yorkers are provided fair wages for their hard work.” The legislation, advanced by Senator Adriano Espaillat and supported by the Democratic Conference, would not only increase the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour, but would also index future increases with the rate of inflation. This legislation will ensure that New Yorkers earning the minimum wage never again incur de facto pay cuts due to stagnant wages and increased costs of living. “It‟s getting harder and harder for low-income families to pay their rent and provide for their children, and raising the minimum wage will help people across the state keep their heads above water,” said Senator Adriano Espaillat. “By not just raising the minimum wage, but also indexing it to inflation, we can assist struggling New Yorkers and keep the minimum wage‟s purchasing power from eroding over time. This increase won‟t just help minimum wage earners – it will serve as powerful economic stimulus and boost local businesses in our communities.” The members of the Senate Democratic Conference have been long-time supporters and advocates for raising the minimum wage and have held forums, called for votes, commissioned reports and organized rallies to demonstrate that increasing the minimum wage is not only the right thing to do morally, but also economically. Providing minimum wage earners with greater compensation for their hard work will help stimulate local economic growth throughout the state and lead to the creation of thousands of jobs.

Democratic Conference Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “Raising the minimum wage is not only the right thing to do, it will also strengthen our economy and speed our recovery. New Yorkers clearly support a higher minimum wage and so do the Senate Democrats. I urge my colleagues to join with our Conference to ensure all New Yorkers earn a fair wage.” Senator Eric Adams said, “As of the beginning of this year ten states have increased their minimum wage and numerous others are considering a variety of approaches including graduated or incremental increases with adjustments based on the consumer price index. For us, New Yorkers, the legislation we are introducing this session represents a positive charge to the economy. While the increases in other states have ranged from a low of $7.64 to a high of $9.04 per hour, we need to acknowledge that among them, New York has experienced the highest national cost of living increases while its wages have remained stagnant. The proposed increase will charge our local economies. The Employment Law Project study tells us that were we to adjust the minimum wage to the cost of living increase, on a federal level, it would be $10.58. Another study by the Fiscal Policy Institute has declared that for New York, the enactment of this legislation will benefit 1 million workers and result in the creation 25,000 jobs - 25,000 jobs that will add to a greater consumer base, greater profit and an increase in the tax base. Clearly, this is a win for New York‟s residents and its businesses.” Senator Tony Avella said, “Families in New York State have seen their cost of living increase while their salaries have stagnated for decades. Raising the state‟s minimum wage will help over 1.1 million struggling individuals and families who are trying to make ends meet during this difficult economic climate. The Senate Democratic Conference will continue to fight to make ensure that all hard working New Yorkers are able to support themselves and their families.” Senator Neil Breslin said, “It is incumbent upon us as Legislators to make sure that the hard working men and woman of this state are paid a livable wage. People who currently make minimum wage fall below the poverty line and that is simply unacceptable. Neighboring states have already enacted laws to raise their minimum wage above the federal requirement and it is time for New York State to do the same.” Senator Martin Malavé Dilan said, “There is nothing to debate on Minimum Wage. There is over whelming support by New Yorkers to increase the state‟s minimum wage and all the evidence shows the positive impact an increase will have on working families and local economies.” Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson said, “During these tenuous economic times, it is imperative that all working New Yorkers have the ability to provide for their families and contribute to the recovery of the economy. My colleagues and I stand united in ensuring that our State‟s minimum wage is transformed into an actual living wage in order to help all New Yorkers live a better life.” Senator Brad Hoylman said, “I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues in declaring our strong support for raising the minimum wage and indexing future increases to inflation, which would provide lasting support to our struggling working families while boosting our economy. The minimum wage has fallen dramatically in real dollars over the past 30 years and, currently, the income of a full-time worker earning the minimum wage is below the federal poverty level for a household of two. If New York is truly to regain its status as the progressive capital of the nation, we must act now and pass this long-overdue increase.”

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “It‟s time for the state to act. Western New York‟s working families can‟t afford to wait for Washington. At the current $7.25 hourly minimum, people earn just $290 each week and less than $15,000 a year for full-time work. It leaves families in Buffalo and across the state struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. When the minimum wage rises, it will help lift families from poverty and boost local economic activity. The impact will be economic stimulus as working-class families secure greater purchasing power to benefit small businesses.” Senator Liz Krueger said, “Our announcement today makes clear there are a majority of senators ready to vote to raise the minimum wage and tie it to the rate of inflation, a proposal endorsed across the spectrum from organized labor to Crain‟s New York Business. There‟s only one question left: can the „majority coalition‟ allow a vote on this issue and let democracy happen, or will a minority of extremely conservative members veto the will of the people, prevent a floor vote, and prove that Albany dysfunction is alive and worse than ever?” Senator George Latimer said, “Consumer spending is what drives our economy. An increased minimum wage will increase consumer spending. That extra money will be spent in our communities, at our small businesses and will be beneficial to revitalizing our local and regional economies.” Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, “This bill is very important and very timely. In the past nine years the cost of everything in New York State has continued to climb steeply, as have the number of our citizens either living in poverty or barely getting by. This bill will not cure our economic inequities but it will provide the fundamental fairness owed to our people. The fact that President Obama is proposing minimum wage legislation is wonderful, but there is no guarantee that it will be acted upon by Congress, so it is our responsibility to provide this increase to the struggling workers of New York State. And with the backing of 27 members there is no reason not to bring this bill to the floor immediately!” Senator Ted O’Brien said, “This will help hardworking families afford life‟s necessities, strengthen our economy and benefit folks at all income levels. Minimum wage workers will put their increased wages right back into the economy by buying necessities they have been living without, helping our economy and increasing tax revenues for local governments and school districts.” Senator Kevin Parker said, “I stand in solidarity with my Senate Colleagues in urging an increase to the minimum wage that includes indexing. It is shameful that New York State has the greatest degree of income inequality of all 50 states. It is time that we took care of our valuable working class citizens and help them achieve the American Dream.” Senator José Peralta said, “An honest day‟s work deserves an honest day‟s pay. During the 1960s and „70s, a single minimum-wage job could support a family of three. The same job today isn‟t enough to keep a family out of poverty. Increasing the minimum wage would not only better the lives of New York‟s working poor, it would give our economy a much-needed shot in the arm. Minimum wage earners cannot afford to sock away money, so any increase will immediately benefit local businesses through direct spending. Raising the minimum wage is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.”

Senator Bill Perkins said, “Raising the minimum wage goes beyond dollars and cents. It makes moral and common sense for workers and their families.” Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “$7.25 is the minimum wage allowed by federal law. With our high cost of living, New York should not be at the bottom of the pay scale. Instead, New York State should be leading the way in creating good, well-paying jobs that a family can actually live on. That is why my colleagues and I have made raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation our No. 1 goal during this budget season.” Senator John Sampson said, “I support raising New York‟s minimum wage and embrace President Obama‟s call for raising the federal minimum wage and indexing it to rise automatically each year with the cost of living. Today, thousands of New York‟s low-wage workers face a high cost of living, low and stagnant wages, and no clear pathways out of a crippling poverty. Senate Republicans should join Democrats and pass a bi-partisan minimum wage increase law that will help lift many New Yorkers out of poverty. I believe that we can get this done.” Senator James Sanders said, “Although raising the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour will not make up for the real wages lost to inflation since we last raised the wage, it is a worthy step towards economic justice. We must now begin indexing the minimum wage to ensure that the wage keeps up with the cost of living. In addition, indexing the minimum wage will prevent us from having to revisit this battle over the wage in the future.” Senator José Serrano said, “I stand in full support of common sense legislation that will raise the minimum wage to at least $9 an hour. Doing so will improve the quality and standard of life for workers, reduce poverty, incentivize fair and more efficient business practices, and will be a big step towards strengthening the economy of our great State.” Senator Daniel Squadron said, “A strong New York depends on a system in which a job means a decent life. Yet New York remains behind the curve in supporting those who work hard to support themselves and their families,” said Senator Daniel Squadron. “It‟s time for a minimum wage that‟s based on the real cost of living now and in the future. New York must raise and index the minimum wage -- so that we can truly provide real opportunity for all who seek it.” Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk said, “Raising the minimum wage will certainly benefit low-income families, but it will also help small businesses and the local economy. When working people have more money to spend, they spend it on basic necessities like housing, food and clothing. The increased demand helps small, local businesses earn greater profits and create more jobs.” ###

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