ALBANY -– Even with lawmakers away on vacation for two weeks, minimum wage wars are starting to heat up as the various sides try to settle on their legislative priorities for the final couple months of the session.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pointed to a new poll out today showing overwhelming support for a minimum wage hike as ammunition for his Democratic conference’s plan to raise the level from $7.25 per hour now to $8.50 per hour later this year.
"We should be listening to the people," Silver said after Quinnipiac University released a poll showing New Yorkers back a wage hike by a four-to-one margin. Broken down by proposed wage levels, 29 percent of registered voters responding to the poll said they support New York going to the $8.50 level, while 41 percent said it should increase even higher than Silver has proposed. Twenty percent oppose any mandatory minimum wage hike.
In Syracuse this afternoon, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo continued his stance of not committing either way. Senate Republicans say Silver’s plan would cause businesses to lay off workers.
"I’ve supported minimum wage increases in the past," Cuomo said.