Advocates for raising the state’s minimum wage to $9 an hour with indexing for inflation — the proposal backed by the Democratic Assembly and President Barack Obama — on Wednesday released a new analysis of the economic impact of that change, completed by the progressive-leaning Fiscal Policy Institute.
The activists dismissed the rather vague proposal contained in the state Senate’s one-house budget resolution to investigate boosting the wage over the next three years — without mentioning any numbers.
That document, of course, is the product of the sometimes awkward partnership of the chamber’s Republicans and the five members of the Independent Democratic Conference. The former group has in recent years been hostile to the wage increase — Sen. Dean Skelos has described it as a job-killer — while the latter conference has been a forceful advocate for an increase and indexing.
IDC Conference Leader Jeff Klein and Sen. Diane Savino appeared at a recent rally to show their support for the activists’ cause.
“Our coalition has supported their leadership; now is the crunch time,” said Michael Kink, executive director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition (who because of his previous employment with the Senate Democratic conference during its snakebit 2009-2010 majority can’t directly lobby lawmakers on the issue). “Now is the question of whether they can deliver on that promise of progressive policy and bipartisan support. Many of the labor groups involved in this coalition have been talking to Republicans — we know that there are many Republicans who are ready to support a strong bill, with or without tax breaks for small business or other things that Sen. Skelos is looking for.”
“The IDC talked the talk, now we want them to walk the walk,” said Colin Donnaruma, a familiar face from Occupy Albany. “The frank reality is that they’re a major impediment to getting this done” — meaning $9 an hour with indexing.
The FPI’s Frank Mauro said the Senate’s one-house proposal was impossible to analyze in a similar fashion because of its lack of any specifics.
Here’s full video of the advocates’ press conference outside the Senate antechamber: