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

Minimum wage for home care aides is likely to mean bigger raises for downstate than upstate

The newly enacted wage hike for home care aides is likely to increase workers' pay more than three times as much in the New York City area as in other parts of the state, according to a review of labor data. Read More

The flawed arguments behind ‘Fair Pay for Home Care’

As they contemplate a major increase in Medicaid spending on home care for the elderly and disabled, state legislators are relying on information that's outdated, incomplete or inaccurate – and neglecting to think through the predictable consequences. Read More

Answers needed on Governor Hochul’s health-care budget

The health-care agenda laid out by Governor Hochul in her budget proposal this week leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Here are a few of them. Read More

The Health Department takes a big step toward COVID transparency

The state Health Department released a flurry of 20 COVID-related data sets this week, taking its biggest step yet toward full transparency about the state's pandemic response. Read More

Remembering the scandal that brought down Health Commissioner Howard Zucker

The resignation of Dr. Howard Zucker as state health commissioner marks the end of a term marred by scandal over his role in managing the coronavirus pandemic. The much-debated compelling nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients, though it origi Read More

As leaves turn, NY’s post-pandemic recovery still has very far to go

New York was the national epicenter of the pandemic, and Governor Cuomo's "New York State on PAUSE" business shutdowns and other restrictions led, in short order, to the loss of nearly 2 million jobs in the first full month after the infection began spreading in the New York City area. Read More

More NY job gains in August—but employment needs to rise a lot further

New York's jobs report for August looked relatively strong—but only by comparison, that is, with what was generally regarded as a disappointing national number. On a seasonally adjusted basis, New York gained 28,000 private-sector jobs last month—a growth rate of 0.4 percent, according to preliminary monthly estimates from the state Labor Department. Read More

After 10 weeks, all but five of the Empire Center’s 63 requests for pandemic data remain unfulfilled

Over the 10 days that Hochul has been in office, there has been no further progress on the Empire Center's record requests. 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!