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Albany Considering Minimum Wage Increase

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced his bill to increase the state’s minimum wage from the present $7.25 an hour to $8.50, saying its “absurd” to think that anyone can make a living on the current amount.

Speaker Silver, saying that no one who works hard and plays by the rules should be “poor and bereft of hope”, says the proposed increase in the minimum wage would help New Yorkers’ in the lowest rungs of the economic ladder  survive.    He says the recommended amount of $8.50 cents is low enough to prevent any potential job losses from businesses who say they can’t afford a sudden increase.

“It is a balancing act,” said Silver. “And right now, New York State is out of balance.”

Under the bill’s provisions, the new minimum wage would then increase by the rate of inflation each year. Silver says if the state’s minimum wage had been tied to the rate of inflation all along, it would now be $10.80 cents an hour.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.