Wage Bill Would Benefit Bronx More than Other Counties, Report Says

By Patrick Wall on May 24, 2012 5:36pm 

The Bronx would benefit more than any other county if the state Legislature increases the minimum wage. Here, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced a deal on a living wage bill on January 13, 2012 - a bill that is separate from the minimum wage hike.
The Bronx would benefit more than any other county if the state Legislature increases the minimum wage. Here, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced a deal on a living wage bill on January 13, 2012 - a bill that is separate from the minimum wage hike.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

BRONX — About one in seven Bronx workers — a greater share than in any other county in New York — would directly benefit from the proposed minimum wage increase that is now stalled in the state Legislature, according to a report released Thursday.

The study by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a liberal research and advocacy group, found that 13.9 percent of Bronx workers would earn more if the proposed minimum wage hike from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour were enacted, a higher percentage of workers than the state and city averages, which are both about 10 percent of workers.

"The Bronx is the county with the highest proportion of low-wage workers," said the report’s author, James Parrott, the group’s deputy director and chief economist.

"Clearly it’s in their interest to raise the minimum wage."

Last week, the Assembly passed a bill to raise the minimum wage, but the state Senate is firmly against an increase, which some lawmakers say would stunt job growth and increase taxes for low-wage workers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he supports an increase but does not expect a compromise on the bill before this legislative session ends on June 21.

About 1 million New Yorkers would benefit from the wage increase, according to the report.

Some 880,000 workers who currently earn less than $8.50 an hour would be paid more. Another 200,000 workers who already make slightly more than $8.50 an hour would likely benefit from a "spillover effect," as employers boost their wages in order to maintain relative wage levels among employees, the report found.

In The Bronx, about 66,700 out of 478,400 workers currently earn less than $8.50 an hour, which represents the highest share of low-wage workers of any county in the state, according to the report.

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