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Minimum-Wage Rolls Drive Albany Debate

Wall Street Journal (02/13/12) Joseph de Avila

The number of people in New York state earning minimum wage has risen significantly since the beginning of the recession, one of the factors driving a debate in Albany over whether to raise the rate. Last year, the number of workers earning minimum wage was about 91,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up sharply form 2008, when approximately 6,000 people earned the minimum wage. Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is backing a bill that seeks to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour, which would be indexed annually to the inflation rate.