NYC: Mayor Bloomberg Trying to Kill Living Wage Law in Last Weeks in Office
In his last weeks in office, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is using his office to legally challenge two of the key aspects of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s platform to undermine the next mayor’s ability to implement reform. Earlier, we reported that the Bloomberg Administration will continue to appeal a court ruling that found the NYPD Stop-and-Frisk program unconstitutional. This time, Bloomberg is going after the city’s Living Wage law which would raise the minimum wage to $10 with benefits and $11.50 without benefits for employees of city contractors that receive $1 million or more from the city.
The Living Wage bill passed the New York City Council in 2012 but was vetoed by Bloomberg who has been a staunch opponent of increasing the minimum wage. The City Council managed to override Bloomberg’s veto but the Mayor has refused to implement the law since 2012 as he seeks to challenge it in court.
Bloomberg has already successfully defeated a Prevailing Wage Law, which included many of the same language as this Living Wage Bill in regards to contractor employees, back in August. The judge in that case struck down the law, noting several precedents in which the city minimum wage could not supersede the state minimum wage.
In other states, this is exactly the case since urban areas tend to have much higher earnings, and cost-of-living, than rural areas. In California, the minimum wage will be $9 in January. On the other hand, the minimum wage in San Francisco is $10.55 and the minimum wage in San Jose is $10. In New Mexico, the minimum wage is $7.50. In the state’s capital of Santa Fe, the minimum wage is $10.51.
Certainly, it’s no surprise that New York City needs a higher minimum wage than the rural areas that make up most of the state since it has consistently been ranked the most expensive US city to live in. A recent study found that a family that gets by on $48,000 in a state like Mississippi would need to earn $93,500 to keep the same lifestyle in New York City.
(Image courtesy of The Center for American Progress)