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Raise minimum wage to help struggling families succeed

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More of today’s families need to be two-income households to make ends meet, whether they are single parents, providing homes for older and unemployed children or caring for sick or elderly loved ones. They all need and want many of the same things — especially good jobs.

The state Labor Department’s most recent statistics report private sector employment in the city rose by 93,100, or 2.9 percent, for the 12-month period ending in August 2012. The city’s over-the-year private sector growth rate (+2.9 percent) was above the state’s (+1.8 percent) and the nation’s (+1.8 percent).

The city’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in August 2012, down slightly from 10 percent in July 2012. The state’s rate was 9.1 percent in August, and the national rate was almost 8 percent for September. Despite strong job creation by the city’s businesses, the number of city residents with jobs is essentially flat over the prior 12 months.

Anyone who has recently gone to the grocery store, put gas in the car or paid their monthly rent or mortgage knows it is hard to make ends meet. While our economy is slowly recovering, we still have a long way to go to ensure good, living-wage jobs. There are a number of legislative initiatives I have been pursuing that I think have great potential for addressing the economic woes of New York’s working families:

1. Raise the minimum wage sooner rather than later. Several bills have been introduced in the state Senate and state Assembly to raise the minimum wage from its current paltry $7.25 an hour. Right now, a person working a full-time, minimum-wage job — 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year — only earns $15,180 a year before taxes.

2. Stop outsourcing jobs. I am sponsoring legislation, S.1244, that would prevent businesses from reaping state tax breaks and other economic benefits when they outsource employment opportunities to other states and countries, thereby letting them siphon off scarce state tax resources that could be used in better ways.

3. Provide family care insurance. I am co-sponsoring legislation, S.7547, that would establish family care insurance under our state’s worker’s compensation and insurance laws to enable New Yorkers to care for loved ones without wiping themselves out financially and emotionally.

4. Pass the Fair Pay Act (S.2200-A), which I co-sponsor. It provides for pay equity, or equal pay for equal work.

As a reminder to all job seekers and to help bring together more than 100 potential employers and their new hires, I am hosting a free job fair Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Resorts World New York at Aqueduct Racetrack, 3rd Floor, 110-00 Rockaway Blvd., South Ozone Park.

Do not forget to bring plenty of résumés and dress professionally to meet with various recruiters. Over the years, I have organized six job fairs in my Senate district, and I am always pleased to help my constituents find employment, particularly at a time when jobs are sometimes difficult to find.

If you have any questions about the upcoming fair or if I can be of assistance to you in the community, contact me or Peter DeLucia in my district office at 718-738-1111.

Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Senator

(D-Howard Beach)

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