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In New York, where Democratic legislators are pushing to increase the state minimum wage to $8.50, a majority of Republicans support the move, with an overwhelming 78 percent of New York voters wanting to see an $8.50 minimum wage and just 17 percent opposed. But the bill is being declared dead anyway, thanks to opposition in the Republican-controlled state Senate and neglect from Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Siena College poll of New York registered voters finds that 58 percent of Republicans want to see the minimum wage raised, as do 64 percent of self-described conservatives; the plan draws support from 88 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents, meanwhile. A Quinnipiac poll last month found similar numbers.
But while Cuomo claims to support raising the minimum wage in theory, he has not supported the actual plan introduced to do so. And, as the New York Times notes, "the Republican majority in the State Senate has derided the proposal as a job killer." This divide between Republican politicians and voters is what you get when you take a Republican and expose him or her to a high volume of lobbying by low-wage businesses. It's certainly not a view supported by reality: studies comparing job statistics in cities and states that have increased their minimum wage above that of neighboring areas show that raising the minimum wage does not cost jobs. Additionally, when low-wage workers have more money to spend in their communities, local businesses reap the benefits.
New York's Republican legislators they don't have economic reality as an excuse for opposing a minimum wage increase. Multiple polls make clear they also don't have the support of Republican voters. But that doesn't matter, because what they do have is the New York state Senate. So working New Yorkers earning a wage they can't live on are out of luck.