Another minimum wage hike coming to the Finger Lakes in 2019


New York will ring in the new year the same way it has since 2016: by increasing the minimum wage.

The increase will mark the third time the state has raised its minimum wage in the last three years and comes as part of a multi-year deal passed by lawmakers in 2016 to reach a $15 minimum wage downstate by December 2021. 

Workers in the Finger Lakes will begin earning $11.10 an hour come Dec. 31, a 70 cent pay raise from last year.

It’s not known when the rest of the state will reach a $15 an hour minimum wage. The state said it would consider annual increases after 2020.

Workers in places like the Finger Lakes Region, Mid-Hudson Valley and Southern Tier are scheduled to see their wages increase to $12.50 an hour on Dec. 31, 2020.

From there, wages are expected to increase gradually year-to-year until reaching $15, according to the state.

“We were pleased with that compromise,” said Kamala Keeley, president of the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce, of the state’s decision to stagger wage increases.

“From the chamber of commerce perspective, from the business perspective, we would like to see the economy doing well enough that we can afford to pay people a better minimum wage and better wages in general,” she added.

The cost of living and median salary for a majority of the state is far lower than places like New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, according to a report released earlier this year by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank based in Washington.

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