There’s good news and bad news for women and families in New York this week.

The good news: The State Assembly recently voted to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour and tie it to the rising cost of living. That would mean an extra $2,500 each year for minimum wage workers in New York, nearly two-thirds of whom are women.

The bad news: To keep up the momentum on this critical issue, we need strong leadership from Governor Cuomo and the state Senate — or the bill is likely to stall.

More good news: You can help. Tell Governor Cuomo to fight for a strong minimum wage increase and tell your state Senator to pass the minimum wage bill, A. 9148. They need to hear from you!

A mom struggling to support two kids on New York’s current minimum wage earns just $14,500 for a year of full-time work — thousands of dollars below the poverty line. Raising the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour would put more money in families’ pockets, which means more money flowing into local businesses, helping the state’s economy grow and creating thousands of new jobs. A higher minimum wage could also help to close the gap between men’s and women’s earnings; in 2010, a typical New York woman working full time, year round was paid only 83 cents for every dollar paid to a typical man.

The cost of living in New York is among the highest in the nation. Eighteen other states have raised their minimum wages above $7.25 per hour. Let’s make New York number 19!

A recent poll shows that 78 percent of New Yorkers support raising the minimum wage. But what about leaders in Albany? Governor Cuomo supports an increase “in principle,” but has yet to act on that principle. And the budget approved by the state legislature and Governor continues to shortchange services low-income families need to make ends meet.

It’s time for Governor Cuomo and the Senate to get their priorities straight. Click here to send a message to Governor Cuomo and your state Senator!

With just weeks left in this legislative session, time is of the essence. Help us keep up the momentum! Take action today to tell Governor Cuomo and the Senate that New York’s working women and families can’t wait for an increase in the minimum wage.

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