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State Senator Tim Kennedy holds rally in support of increasing minimum wage

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Buffalo: State Senator Tim Kennedy holds rally in support of increasing minimum wage
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Some state lawmakers are rallying support for one of the proposals Governor Cuomo put forth in his State of the State address. State Senator Tim Kennedy led a rally Friday calling on lawmakers to pass a minimum wage hike. As YNN's Kevin Jolly reports, the proposal appears to have widespread support.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — "It's tough when you got to, you know, you're trying to find an apartment, then you've got to furnish the apartment, buy your food, pay your light and gas, you know, it's really hard," said Colleen Johnson.

Johnson knows what it's like living on the edge. As a personal care assistant, she makes just $7.70 an hour. That's 45 cents more than the state’s minimum wage.

What does she think about the Governor's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $8.75 an hour?

"I commend him. I wish he would and I wish it really pass because we could really use it," said Johnson.

“The time has come to enact an increase in the minimum wage here in New York State. The time is now to enact a higher minimum wage here in New York State and we need your support," said State Senator Tim Kennedy.

Friday, Kennedy led a rally in Buffalo featuring lawmakers, labor leaders, and clergy, all pledging their support for increasing the minimum wage.

"We think that the push for a minimum wage increase in NYS is right on time," said Richard Lipsitz, Western New York Area Labor Federation.

“We have a lot of people working two and three jobs at minimum wage just trying to make ends meet," said Pastor Mark Blue of Second Baptist Church.

"I've voted for the minimum wage ever since I've been in the state legislature and I will not stop until we get it indexed so that it changes every time inflation goes up," said Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

But critics of raising the minimum wage say the move would actually kill jobs, making it more costly for businesses to operate.

"It's a false issue and the best economists, as Senator Kennedy and Jonathan have already mentioned, have studied this issue, they found that it will not kill jobs, that it may well boost jobs because of putting more money in the hands of people who will actually spend it," said Sam Magavern of the Partnership for Public Good.

The last time the minimum wage was increased in New York state was back in 2009 when it went from $7.15 to $7.25 an hour.

Kennedy is hoping this time the Governor's proposal will pass both the Assembly and the Senate.

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