by Jeremy Moule
The public is behind Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 per hour, according to one statewide poll. Cuomo proposed the increase during his State of the State address last week.
A Siena College Research Institute poll, conducted on January 10 and January 13 to 15, says that 83 percent of the people surveyed support the minimum wage increase. The institute surveyed 676 registered voters.
Last year, Democrats tried to get a minimum wage increase through the Legislature. The legislation was backed by a variety of groups, including labor and clergy. But Republicans, who controlled the Senate, wouldn't bring the measure up for a vote, so it died.
This year, the Legislature's dynamic is different. The Assembly, with its large Democratic majority, is almost guaranteed to pass minimum wage legislation; it had no problems passing last year's proposal. And the Senate, is now under the control of a coalition of Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference. The IDC members want the Senate to pass a minimum wage increase, and the conference has the ability to bring it to the floor for a vote. And since last year, several Republican senators have come forward and said they support a minimum wage increase.
Those Republicans appear to have support from voters in their party. The Siena Research Institute says that 70 percent of Republicans polled support a minimum wage increase. It also says that, of the people polled who identify as conservative, 72 percent support an increase.