timeclock-bw-150x150-7441211How would a proposed $15-per-hour statewide minimum wage compare to current pay ranges and historical precedents in New York?

One useful standard of comparison is the federal government’s estimate of the median wage for all jobs. The median is the midway point on the pay scale, with half of jobs paying more and half paying less. The chart below shows how the medians for different New York regions line up against the current statewide minimum of $8.75 as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $15 minimum, which would be phased in by 2021 for areas outside New York City.

screen-shot-2015-09-14-at-9-18-04-am-8224600

The median hourly wage of all full- and part-time jobs (estimated as of May 2014) ranged from a high of $21.73 in the New York City metro area (which includes the White Plains and Wayne, NJ, metros) to a low of $15.30 in the Glens Falls area. Other upstate regions with median wages just above $15 include Utica-Rome at $15.91, along with the non-metro areas of Capital/Northern New York at $15.77, Central New York at $15.59 and Southwest non-metro New York at $15.49.

What would Mario do?

Governor Cuomo has evoked the memory of his late father in support of what he is now calling the “Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice.” As governor, Mario Cuomo proposed a minimum wage increase at least once, seeking to increase the level from $3.35 to $3.75. That increase, which failed to pass the Legislature, would have represented a modest bump of 12 percent compared to the 67 percent boost proposed by his son (comparing $15 to the $9 scheduled to take effect in 2016).

New York State tracked the federal wage throughout Cuomo’s tenure, rising from $3.35 in 1983 to $4.25 in 1994. In real terms, in 2015 dollars, that represented a decrease from $8.03 to $6.84.

To be sure, it would seem safe to assume that, if Mario Cuomo were still alive, he would support the policy advocated by his son. Nonetheless, the historical record shows he never came close to advocating the same thing while he was governor.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

New York’s State Share of Medicaid Spending is Due to Jump 22 Percent This Fiscal Year

The state share of Medicaid spending is projected to jump 22 percent under the recently approved state budget, an unusually steep one-year jump for what is already one of New York's biggest expenditures. Read More

The Public Can Now See the Vaccine Task Force Recommendations that the Cuomo Administration Held Back

Even as Governor Cuomo touted vaccine approvals by a state-appointed panel of experts, his office was withholding the group's detailed findings from public view. The governor's six- Read More

New York’s Medicaid and Public Health Crises Get Short Shrift in the New State Budget

In spite of an ongoing pandemic and spiraling Medicaid costs, New York's health-care system received surprisingly little attention in the new state budget. On issue after issue, law Read More

Empire State’s new budget is a bridge to nowhere

Looking ahead to an uncertain post-pandemic recovery, New York’s newly enacted state budget for fiscal year 2022 raises spending by staggering amounts that—barring an unlikely rapid return to peak 2019 economic activity in New York City—can't possibly be sustained for more than a few years. The budget is a mid-2020s fiscal disaster in the making: an incomplete bridge over a deepening river of red ink. Read More

Lawmakers Mull Medicaid Proposals That Would Speed New York Toward a Fiscal Cliff

As a budget deal nears in Albany, reining in spiraling Medicaid costs seems to be the last thing on anyone's mind. Governor Cuomo is advancing only Read More

Tax hike and huge spending increase seem likely in next NY budget

New York state today began its 2022 fiscal year without an adopted budget—which, in itself, is not a big deal. The state government can continue to pay bills and employee salaries next week if either final appropriations Read More

Cuomo Pushes Budget Change Sought by Hospital Group Implicated in Pandemic Scandals

A hospital lobbying group at the heart of scandals plaguing the Cuomo administration is again getting the governor's help in pushing a late change to the state budget. Aides to Gove Read More

The Cuomo Administration Is Withholding Pandemic-Related Records Again

In an echo of the Cuomo administration's stonewalling on nursing home data, the governor's office has for a third time delayed releasing records of its vaccine review panel, this time until mid-April. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!