Share this article

print logo

Letter: State needs to raise minimum wage now

State needs to raise?minimum wage now

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has announced that the minimum wage issue is now "dead in the water" and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has stated that its passage is "very dubious." I am writing this letter to express my outrage. New York State has gone for five years without raising the minimum wage. I was the director of one of the largest food pantries in Western New York. I think that qualifies me to speak up for those "working poor." I have contacted the Food Bank of Western New York to verify my statements. The majority of the people who are receiving their free food from food pantries are the working poor.

Since 2006, the people receiving this food has increased 82 percent. It is not a coincidence that the minimum wage has not gone up in the last five years, it is a contributor. Our legislators are making plans to give themselves a raise when they reconvene. It's time for people of faith to speak up and remind our elected officials that it is their responsibility to look out for the needs of the majority, not corporate America or special interest groups.

Let me get down to specific numbers. A person who is supporting a family of three on the minimum wage is earning $888 per month if he or she works 40 hours per week. According to our U.S. government, if a family of three is living on less than $1,650 per month, they are living in poverty. The increase in the minimum wage would simply close that gap. Our legislators aren't worried about the minimum wage for themselves because they earn around $48 an hour and our governor earns $76 per hour. The corporations have hired lobbyists to fight this legislation and they earn $175 per hour. Most CEOs earn more in one hour than the rest of us earn in a year. This system is out of control. Our elected officials should be working with their citizens to seek equity, not be a part of the inequity.

Bill Roberts

Voice Buffalo