The top Democrat in New York's Legislature is pushing legislation to boost the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 and then index it annually to the inflation rate.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, joined Monday by dozens of colleagues from his Democrat-controlled chamber, says census data show nearly half of the U.S. population has fallen into poverty or joined the ranks of the working poor.
He says the minimum wage in New York has risen 10 cents in the last six years and increasing it is "a matter of human dignity."
A spokesman says Gov. Andrew Cuomo has supported previous proposals to raise the minimum and will review this one.
The Senate Republican majority conference says senators will keep promoting policies that make New York a more business-friendly state.