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December 07, 2004

NY To Hike Min Wage to $7.15/hr

Overriding a veto by Governor Pataki, the state Senate in New York voted to raise the state minimum wage to $6 an hour on Jan. 1, 2005; to $6.75 on Jan. 1, 2006, and $7.15 on Jan. 1, 2007.

The business types unsurprisingly protested the action:

"It's another straw that's going to break the back of doing business in New York," said Matthew Guilbault, legislative manager for the New York chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents about 20,000 small businesses statewide. The group released data projecting the raise would amount to a $2.8-billion "tax hike" for businesses.
Damn straight it's a tax on businesses that immediately funds an anti-poverty and health care program for their own employees.

In a country where "tax hikes" are often not seen as popular, progressives should pay closer attention to the success of minimum wage wage "taxes" that are overwhelmingly popular because the public knows exactly who benefits from them.

At the national level, a similar minimum wage hike would de facto transfer tens of billions each year to the working poor-- and is overwhelmingly supported. This is an issue we should pound conservatives relentlessly.

And congratulations to the Working Families Party that led a multi-year campaign to achieve this success, in alliance with a wide range of other allies.

Posted by Nathan at December 7, 2004 10:22 AM