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Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo Push For $15 Minimum Wage In New York

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Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo Push For $15 Minimum Wage In New York

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Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo Push For $15 Minimum Wage In New York

Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo Push For $15 Minimum Wage In New York

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With Vice President Biden at his side, Gov. Cuomo announced a plan to raise his state's minimum wage to $15 an hour. New York could become the first state to raise the minimum wage for everyone.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

New York's governor is campaigning to make his state the first with a minimum wage of $15 per hour for everyone. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made that announcement yesterday, and he had support from Vice President Biden. Here's Stephen Nessen of member station WNYC.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WORK FOR THE WORKING MAN")

BON JOVI: (Singing) Who's going to work, work, work for the working man?

STEPHEN NESSEN, BYLINE: Pumping up the crowd with working-man theme songs from Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there's always good news when Vice President Joe Biden is in town.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANDREW CUOMO: He is like a New York Santa Claus. That's what he's like.

NESSEN: The gift he brought is support for Cuomo's $15-an-hour minimum wage. Details were sparse, but the governor said it would be phased in over time. The state just gave final approval to gradually raising the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour. The governor wants to extend that to all low-wage workers.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CUOMO: If fast food workers deserve $15 an hour, construction workers deserve $15 an hour...

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: ...And home health care aides deserve $15 an hour. And taxicab drivers deserve $15 an hour.

NESSEN: The governor says more money in workers pockets will be a boom for the economy, not a burden. But that's not how he felt earlier this year when New York Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a $13-an-hour minimum wage for the city. Cuomo called it a nonstarter in Albany. Ken Pokalsky, vice president for the Business Council for New York State, says hiking the minimum age will hurt businesses and lead to layoffs.

KEN POKALSKY: The money comes from somewhere. The money comes either from the employer raising prices to taking money that would've gone to some other type of purchase. Or it's reducing the profitability or it's the employer reducing other investments in his business.

NESSEN: It's hard to say exactly what the impact on employment would be. Research shows that small increases in the minimum wage don't have much of an effect, but it might be different with larger increases. A recent study of the wage hikes in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles showed the increases led to thousands of layoffs in the food service industry. For NPR News, I'm Stephen Nessen in New York.

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