Raising New York City’s Minimum Wage: Why is this a State Issue?

by Michael Cabasso

Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for state legislation for a minimum wage raise in New York City.  Currently, New York State’s minimum wage stands at $8.00 an hour.  De Blasio proposes a City raise to $11.75 an hour.  Last year, the New York State Legislature agreed to a plan that increases the minimum wage rate.  Under this plan, the $8.00 wage will be increased to $8.75 in 2015 and $9.00 in 2016.

Currently, minimum wage is set by the New York State legislature under N.Y. LAB. LAW § 652.  New York City Mayor Wagner attempted to adopt NYC minimum wage laws in the early 1960’s.  The City believed this legislation would not supersede NY State law.  In Wholesale Laundry Bd. of Trade, Inc. v. City of New York, 17 A.D.2d 327 (1962), the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled that the City’s minimum wage law was inconsistent with and preempted by state law.  At the time, minimum wage was set at $1.00 an hour with a planned increase to $1.25 an hour.  The New York City Legislature created a citywide law that increased the minimum wage to $1.25 an hour with a planned increase to $1.50 an hour.  The mayor’s contention was that New York’s law did not limit the state law but ran concurrently.  The City reasoned that the local minimum wage law acted in the way that local penal laws may extend punishment for certain crimes.  The City believed that the minimum wage law acted as an extension to State law and would be permissible. … <Read More>

Weekly Round-Up: April 25th, 2014


  • Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña supports the Common Core. The Common Core State Standards Initiative  has become very unpopular with some New York elected officials. The opponents of Common Core argue that the standards focus too much on standardized testing and evaluations of teachers based on test scores. Fariña focused on the critical thinking skills that Common Core is supposed to foster and the importance of these skills in the workforce. For an article on this, please click here. (Capital New York)
  • In this opinion article by Gabrielle Howe and Joli Golden, the two discuss the ever growing problem in NYC of the amount of children who qualify as “gifted or talented students” through a city administered test and the amount of seats in special programs available to these students. On average, only 15% of students who qualify as gifted are given a seat at one of the 5 citywide schools with gifted programs, leaving 85% of the qualifying students being turned away from these programs. The most pressing issue is that despite the recent increase of qualifying students, no new programs have been created since 2008. (WNYC)

Juvenile Justice

  • According to a new report that was published this week in The Journal of Adolescent Health, about half of all 16 to 18 year olds entering New York City jails said they have had a traumatic brain injury before they were incarcerated.  Research has shown that inmates with brain trauma are linked to “higher rates of breaking jailhouse rules, substance abuse and greater difficulty re-entering society after detention.”  
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