Senators involved with the New York State minimum wage bill have confirmed that they will be pushing for all municipalities to have the ability to set their own state minimum wage, not just New York City.
“My bill authorizes municipal governments, which will include counties, cities, towns and villages,” said Senator Jimmy Sanders, Jr.
This will be a relief for businesses on the Bronx/Westchester and Queens/Nassau borders. Should the senate be unable to extend home rule to counties along the New York City border, there would be potential of worker flight to the higher-paying jobs, and business flight to nearby areas where they could pay their workers less.
Despite having a reputation for a much higher cost of living, the living wage in Westchester is $13.05, thirty cents higher than that of Bronx County and New York County, both calculated at $12.75.
The proposed bill, S7772, will modify the municipal home rule law and allow for districts to set their own minimum wage, something that is currently not allowed under state law. The bill will set the statewide minimum wage at $10.10, and will then allow municipalities to increase that wage up to thirty percent, or up to $13.13.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has long been advocating for greater home rule for New York City, which is required to ask the state’s permission for a long list of things, down to something so small as installing street cameras.
For many of New York’s minimum wage activists, though, $13 is just not enough.
“We believe that deBlasio’s $13.13 is a step forward, but its inadequate,” said Eljeer Hawkins of the grassroots organization 15Now. “Wall street is making their profits, where is our share of the pie?”