For Immediate Release: May 30, 2012 Contact: Gary Ginsburg | garykginsburg@gmail.

com | 518-817-6193

Senate Republican Conference Votes Down Legislation Which Would Raise the Minimum Wage
Raising the Minimum Wage Would Help Over One Million Hard-Working New Yorkers

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today took action on the floor of the Senate by introducing and calling for a vote on legislation to raise the New York State minimum wage. The Senate Republican Majority voted down the proposal, again demonstrating that while the Democratic Conference continues to advocate for the rights and dignity of all New Yorkers, Republican Senators only work to further the interest of the wealthiest few. “Raising the minimum wage from a poverty wage should not be a partisan issue, but that is precisely what the Republican Majority has turned it into,” Conference Leader Senator John Sampson said. “Instead of pandering to their special interest campaign donors, the Senate Republicans should listen to the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers and raise the minimum wage. The fact that New York ranks at the top in taxes but near the bottom in wage fairness is appalling and I call on the Republican Majority to acknowledge this fact and join with us to provide a real living wage for all New Yorkers.” “Asking families to survive on $300 per week and choose between buying groceries or paying the electric bill, is a tragic economic injustice,” said Senator Adriano Espaillat, who introduced the minimum wage amendment on behalf of Senate Democrats. “Raising the minimum wage will put money in the pockets of low-income workers, provide a much-needed boost to local economies, and restore New York State‟s standing as a leader on economic fairness. We must pass the minimum wage increase this session.” The Senate Democratic Conference has long advocated for a higher minimum wage and has focused on ensuring the public is well informed on the issue. The Republican Majority has consistently stifled debate on raising the minimum wage and continues to wrongly label the proposal as a „job killer.‟ That is why the Democratic Conference held an informational public hearing to allow minimum wage earners to discuss their struggles, and small-business owners and experts speak about the positive benefits New York State would receive from an increase in the minimum wage. “New Yorkers have spoken and made it clear: An honest day‟s work deserves an honest day‟s pay,” Senator José Peralta said. “During the 1960s and „70s, a single minimum-wage job could

keep a three-person family above the federal poverty level. Today, it‟s impossible to make ends meet in New York earning only the minimum wage, even working full time. New York‟s minimum wage is too low. We need to raise it and enable working people to support their families.” “Families in New York State have seen their cost of living increase while their salaries have stagnated, decreased, or disappeared due to loss of employment,” Senator Shirley L. Huntley said. “Raising the minimum wage will undoubtedly help many struggling individuals and families who are trying to make ends meet during this difficult economic climate. Working class New Yorkers deserve an opportunity to effectively support themselves and their families, without having to live paycheck to paycheck or solely rely on public assistance.” Through letters and the public hearing, the Democratic Conference has demonstrated that increasing the minimum wage to just $8.50 would benefit approximately one million workers – about 11 percent of the State‟s workforce – and enable these New Yorkers to increase their discretionary spending. As New York continues to recover economically, providing greater resources to such a large percentage of the state‟s population will help speed that recovery and facilitate job growth. “Republican arguments that raising the minimum wage would be a „job killer‟ are just another example of them using catchy phrases instead of common sense. Both Massachusetts and Connecticut recently raised their minimum wage and outpaced the national economy last year. The Republican Senators have no reason to ignore facts and the will of New Yorkers other than to play political games and they should be ashamed of themselves,” Senator Sampson concluded. For more information about the Senate Democratic Conference‟s ongoing efforts to raise the New York State minimum wage, please visit: www.povertywageny.com.

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