February 10, 2016

Governor Cuomo Announces Report Detailing Impact of $15 Minimum Wage in Capital Region

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Report Detailing...

Governor Urges Legislature to Pass $15 Phased-In Minimum Wage this Legislative Session

Analysis: 144,415 Workers in Capital Region Will Earn Higher Wages, Increasing Spending Power by $925.4 Million


ATTN TVs: VIDEO of the Governor announcing this proposal with Vice President Biden is available on YouTube here and in TV-quality (h264, mp4) format here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a report by the State Department of Labor (available here) detailing the impact of a $15 minimum wage for New York workers and their families. In total, 2.3 million New Yorkers will earn higher wages and as a result, increase spending power by more than $15.7 billion across New York State. The Governor is urging the State Legislature to pass his phased-in minimum wage proposal this session.

“If you work full time, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty – which is why it’s time for New York to lead the way and pass a $15 minimum wage,” Governor Cuomo said. “This report demonstrates that raising the minimum wage will provide new opportunity and restore economic justice to millions of New Yorkers. Our proposal will lift families out of poverty and create a stronger economy for all, and I urge lawmakers to help us fight for fair pay for working families this year.”

Governor Cuomo is leading the fight for economic justice by raising the wages of hard-working New Yorkers. Under the Governor's leadership, New York has successfully boosted pay for tipped workers and increased the minimum wage to $15 for all fast food workers, 10,000 state workers and 28,000 SUNY employees. In 2013, the Governor successfully secured an increase in the state's minimum wage for all workers to $9.00. As a next step, Governor Cuomo is proposing to increase the minimum wage to $15, which would be the highest statewide minimum wage in the nation.

The report released today details individual and communities’ economic benefits from a $15 minimum wage.

Key Findings:

  • Millions of New Yorkers will earn higher pay. 2.3 million New Yorkers – about a quarter of the total workforce – will experience higher pay, increasing spending power by more than $15.7 billion.1
  • The vast majority of minimum wage earners are adults. Half of minimum wage earners in New York State are 35 or older and outside of New York City, more than 70 percent are over the age of 25. More than 40 percent are married, parents or both and many provide the main source of their family’s income.2
  • The current minimum wage is not a decent living wage. Today, a full time job at New York’s minimum wage pays only $18,720 per year. For a single mother with two children, that’s below the official poverty line.
  • The Governor’s proposal corrects 40 years of economic injustice. A $15 minimum wage by 2021 is about where New York’s minimum wage in 1970 would be, if adjusted for inflation and cost of living differences.3
  • It’s important for New York’s economic growth. New York increased its minimum wage eight times from 1991 through 2015 and six of those times, the data shows an employment uptick following an increase in the state’s minimum wage.4

What a $15 minimum wage means for the Capital Region:


Workers Earning Current Minimum Wage of $9.00

Workers Earning Minimum Wage of $15.00

Dollars Reinvested in Regional Economy

Capital Region




For a statewide breakdown, view page four of the minimum wage report.

Enabling Employers to Plan

The economic benefits of increasing the minimum wage outweigh the costs. But to provide businesses with the opportunity to plan, and in order to be sensitive to the relative abilities of different regional economies to absorb the change, the proposal phases-in the increase in New York’s minimum wage in New York City and more gradually in the rest of the state, on the following schedule:

New York City

Statewide (excluding NYC)

Min. Wage

Effective Date

Min. Wage

Effective Date


























Analysis: Raising New York’s Minimum Wage to $15 was produced by the New York State Department of Labor’s Office of Research and Statistics.


1. New York State Department of Labor analysis of data from US Census Bureau Current Population Survey and US Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

2. New York State Department of Labor analysis of data from US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, and David Cooper (2013), Supplementary Data: State--By--State Characteristics of Workers Who Would Be Affected by Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10 By July 2016. Briefing Paper 371. Economic Policy Institute: Washington, DC.

3. The 1970 minimum wage adjusted for the rate of inflation through 2021, and for regional cost of living differences, is estimated at $16.05 in New York City and $14.41 for the rest of the state, according to the NYS Division of the Budget.

4. New York State Department of Labor analysis.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418

NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640