POINT OF VIEW

Every New Yorker deserves chance at economic security and success

Posted

Hardworking New Yorkers shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ll have enough money to put food on the table or if they’ll be able to pay the rent or mortgage at the end of the month.

Everyone who puts in an honest day’s work should be able to provide for themselves and their family. That’s why the Assembly passed sweeping changes to the state’s minimum wage laws to help lift working families up — because far too many people are struggling just to get by.

As the minimum wage increases continue at the end of this year, many New Yorkers can expect to see a bump in their pay. On Dec. 31, the minimum wage in New York City will increase to $13, and for workers employed by small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, it will increase to $12.

The minimum wage in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties will increase to $11, while upstate New York will see minimum wage increase to $10.40.

And that isn’t the last of it — workers will continue to see increases for the next few years.

It’s no secret that the minimum wage has not kept up with the rising cost of living. As expenses like food, utilities and housing costs increase, the average salary has remained stagnant. From 2007 to 2014, wages fell for all but the highest wage brackets, when adjusted for inflation. Low wages and unfair pay exacerbate inequality and continue the harsh cycle of poverty.

There is also a misconception that those working minimum wage jobs are mostly young people. But that’s simply not true. The majority of minimum-wage workers are adults, not teenagers — half of people making $15 or less are 35 or older. And those who are married or have children make up more than 40 percent of minimum-wage workers.

Additionally, it’s important to note that increased wages lead to a stronger economy. Of the 13 states that raised their minimum wage in 2014, employment growth was seen in 12 of them. When employees believe they are being adequately compensated for their hard work, businesses see better productivity and decreased turnover. And consumers have more money in their pockets to buy goods and services, boosting demand and creating jobs.

A higher minimum wage also acknowledges the very real problem of rising inequality in America. In 1965, CEOs made 20 times more than the average worker. In 1989, they made 59 times more.

Today, CEOs make 271 times more than the average worker. Clearly, there is something deeply wrong with our economic system, and the problem is only going to be exacerbated by the federal tax plan that transfers wealth from the poor and middle class, to the rich and corporations.

It’s imperative that we continue to fight to level the playing field and combat income inequality.

The Assembly majority is committed to serving New Yorkers’ best interests, and raising the minimum wage is part of that commitment. It will help pull hardworking New Yorkers out of poverty and put the American Dream within reach for more families. 

Raising the minimum wage was not only the smart thing to do, it was the right thing to do. Opportunity, economic security and success shouldn’t be reserved for a lucky few, but should be available to all.

The author is the Assembly representative for the 81st District, which includes Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Van Cortlandt Village, Kingsbridge Heights, Marble Hill, Norwood, Woodlawn and Wakefield.

Jeffrey Dinowitz

Comments

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TruthTeller

I agree with the spirit of this letter's headline, but I have a much better idea that will do more than shuffle deck chairs on the Titanic. After all, raising the minimum wage to "still too low" is not really gonna do much for people.

Instead, how about imposing a 1% sales tax on all Wall Street transactions. This proposal has already been made by Nobel prize winning economist James Tobin. You see, when I go to the store to buy something, I pay NYS 8.whatever percent. But Wall Street does not have to do that on any financial transaction they make. Think of all those juicy dollars NYS is not getting because of this obvious gift to Wall Street. Conservative estimates put the money raised at 500 billion a year, which would go very far to solve all of NYC's massive problems.

It's funny how ideas like this, which are already out there in the public domain for decades, simply are never considered by these archaic 20th century legacy politicians. And I know why.....they know who owns them. It's as simple as that.

Friday, December 15, 2017
CelticWoman

No one should be raising a family on minimum wage. It's downright irresponsible.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
TruthTeller

LOL!!! So while these legacy politicians write letters to editors, many "evil" corporations have just announced massive bonuses and raising of their workers minimum wages to $15 an hour.

The impetus you ask? Trumps beautiful new tax plan.

I love it. While the left is out there having temper tantrums "demanding" $15 an hour with no concrete plans on how to make it work, the Trump team simply passed a tax plan that incentivized compaines to do it on their own with no mandate from the Government. Here is a list so far of companies making these announcements.

Fifth Third Bancorp, a regional bank based in Cincinnati, said it will raise the minimum wage for all of its nearly 3,000 hourly employees to $15, and would distribute a one-time bonus of $1,000 for more than 13,500 employees by the end of the year if the bill is signed by Dec. 25.

Wells Fargo, the San Francisco bank that has been hurt by a scandal involving the opening of 3.5 million unauthorized client accounts, also said it would boost its minimum wage to $15 per hour, an 11% increase from its current hourly rate of $13.50, once the law was passed. The pay raise will go into effect in March 2018, the company said.

Aerospace giant Boeing said it would move forward with $300 million in investments as a result of the new tax law, including $100 million in employee training and education and $100 million to enhance Boeing facilities as part of its "workforce of the future" initiative.

Media and cable company Comcast said it would award special $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 eligible employees. The company, which also owns NBCUniversal, said it also expects to spend more than $50 billion over the next five years investing in infrastructure to improve and extend broadband plant and capacity, and its television, film and theme park offerings.

Looks like Trump just pulled the rug out from one of the last issues the Democrats had left. OMG< you guys are getting annihilated in 2018!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2017