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Mayor Myrick talks living wage, poverty on MSNBC

Mayor Myrick talks living wage, poverty on MSNBC

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick discusses the city's living wage policy on the Ronan Farrow Daily show on MSNBC, Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Photo: WHCU

As labor organizers nationwide plan protests to demand fast food workers make $15 an hour, Ithaca’s mayor is extending his support for a federal living wage.

Appearing on MSNBC Tuesday, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said cities and counties can’t wait on Congress to act.

“The best way to do this is for the federal government to raise a minimum wage to a living wage,” Myrick told Farrow. “We know they’re not going to do it, because they’re incentives are misaligned. They can get re-elected again and again just by bashing each other, but cities and counties can’t do that. They have to fix the problems that they’re facing.”

President Obama is asking Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but he’s meeting resistance from Republicans.

The state’s minimum wage currently sits at $8 an hour, but will rise $8.75 an hour at the end of 2014, and to $9 an hour by the end of 2015.

Myrick called the current minimum wage “a poverty wage.”

“If you work 40 hours a week and you have two children at a minimum wage, you don’t have enough money to pay for your health care, your rent, your clothing and your food, so you rely on government services like Medicaid, Medicare or food stamps,” Myrick said. “So we decided to look at what it costs to live in our community.”

The city of Ithaca pays it employees $12.62 an hour.

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