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Assembly proposes higher minimum wage for LI, Westchester, NYC

ALBANY -- The Assembly Monday proposed creating a higher minimum wage for Long Island and Westchester County, as well as New York City.

The Assembly's Democratic majority wants to increase the minimum wage in the suburbs and the city to $12.50 an hour by Dec. 31, then up to $15 an hour in Dec. 31, 2018. The Assembly also would index the wage so it would rise with inflation beginning in 2019.

Tipped workers such as servers also would see a higher suburban minimum and city wage under the Assembly proposal.

The current statewide minimum wage is $8.75 and is scheduled to rise to $9 in December. The Assembly proposal also would raise the general minimum wage outside New York City and its suburbs to $10.50 in December, then $12.60 on Dec. 31, 2018.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed raising the state minimum wage to $10.50 by the end of 2016, creating the nation's highest minimum wage. He also would set a separate minimum wage for New York City for the first time. That would be $11.50 an hour beginning Dec. 31, 2016.

"Raising the minimum wage is about the moral obligation we have to help families across the state who are struggling to get by," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). "The current wage floor is not enough to allow full-time workers who put in a 40-hour workweek to afford life's basic necessities, let alone achieve financial independence."

Under the Assembly proposal, tipped workers on Long Island, in Westchester and in New York City would see a $9.50 minimum wage in December, which would rise to $11.40 an hour on Dec. 31, 2018.

Last month, the state agreed to raise the minimum wage for 400,000 tipped workers in hotels and restaurants to $7.50 an hour beginning in December. The $5-an-hour wage for tipped workers had been unchanged since 2011.

The Assembly proposal is part of its one-house budget, released Monday. The Senate counterpart is expected to be released as early as Tuesday. The one-house budgets then become part of negotiations for a budget due by April 1.

The Senate's Republican majority has opposed raising the minimum wage, calling it a threat to jobs. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Cuomo didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.


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