New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday he would create a so-called Wage Board, a move apparently designed to allow him to raise the minimum wage without the approval of state lawmakers.
Cuomo in his January budget recommended raising the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour in New York City and $10.50 elsewhere in the state, only to see that proposal rejected by the state legislature.
But Cuomo, a Democrat, wrote in an editorial in the New York Times that state law allowed him to independently impanel a Wage Board to determine what adequate pay should be across the state.
"On Thursday, I am directing the commissioner to impanel such a board, to examine the minimum wage in the fast-food industry," Cuomo said in the editorial. "The board will return in about three months with its recommendations, which do not require legislative approval."
Cuomo said the Wage Board could "set fast-food workers on a path out of poverty" as well as ease the financial burden on taxpayers and create a new national standard.
"Some argue that we can close the income gap by pulling down the top," he wrote. "I believe we should do it by lifting up the bottom. We can begin by raising labor standards, starting with the minimum wage."