Minimum Wage Increases in NY Since 1990

| May 24, 2012 4:00 AM

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a minimum wage increase this year is not in the "realm of possiblity." AP/Evan Agostini

Although the New York State Assembly passed a bill that would raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 on May 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says pushing the bill through the GOP-dominated Senate is not in the “realm of possibility.” Progressive organizations have condemned the governors inaction on a wage hike, and fiscal conservatives are defending his decision as supportive of the business community.


MetroFocus looked at minimum wage increases since 1990 and changes in the poverty threshold to give you a better idea of where full-time, minimum-wage earners currently stand.

YearNew York Minimum WageNew York Minimum Wage Annual SalaryFederal Poverty Line

The table shows each year the minimum wage has been increased in New York State since 1990 and the correlating annual salary of 40 hours per week at minimum wage. The last column indicates what the federal poverty line was in a given year. MetroFocus/Kevon Greene

After Cuomo announced that a minimum wage increase isn’t viable this year, a number of liberal groups attempted to push the governor to change his mind, reported The New York Times.

Russel Sykes, a senior fellow at the Empire Center for New York State Policy, told the Times that a minimum wage increase could disqualify many poor families from the Earned Income Tax Credit, and that the credit would be more beneficial than the wage jump.

A day later, Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, responded in Business Insider:

“It seems a bit strange to argue that low-income family is hurt by raising their income. (The EITC peaks at 45 percent, which means that in a worse case scenario a minimum wage worker would lose 45 cents from the EITC for every dollar increase in their wage income. Few workers would see this much of a loss.)”

Most New York State voters, 79 percent to be exact, are in favor of an $8.50 minimum wage, according to a recent Siena Research Poll. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, the minimum wage increase would directly affect 609,000 minimum wage workers and indirectly affect 473,000 workers, and raise the annual salary of an affected worker by $880 per year on average.

As The New York World pointed out, a list of powerful corporations, including Wal-Mart and Darden Restaurant Group, have lobbied around the minimum wage increase in New York State this year.

Meanwhile, in New York City, the top one percent of earners made a third of the city’s income in 2009, according to a new report by the Comptroller’s office. The report’s figures for 2009 — the last year the minimum wage was raised — shows that 1,278,646  income tax filers, or 36.6 percent of tax filers in New York City, earned $20,000 or less. This segment is the largest group of tax filers in New York City, and between 2000 and 2009, its percentage has fluctuated between 35 and 37.5 percent.


  • PL Carl

    Why is it OK for government employees to get raises and vote for their own raises yet the real working people are only allowed to earn a minimum wage of 7.25 at the current time? I don’t know why ANYONE needs to earn millions in order to live comfy.
    I would be content with 50,000.00 a year as long as I had medical. all you rich government people make me sick.

  • Don

    We should not increase minimum wage otherwise we will go down on economy of ny

  • PayPaul

    The above statistics on annual income are based upon a 40 hour work week. How many minimum earners even get that number of hours? Not many I’m sure. Corporations and businesses are whining about a raising minimum wage and dining the members of the NY State Senate so they can continue to exploit workers with wages and work hours not sufficient to live and work in New York state. Who says they have a right to be rich on the backs of workers?

    Shame on you Andrew Cuomo for not standing up for principle and for humanity.

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