NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of thousands of workers making minimum wage in New York could soon be getting a big raise.

Minimum wage workers haven’t seen a pay increase in three years. That could soon change, since State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reportedly plans to introduce a bill today, raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50.

That’s a 17 percent increase.

The bill would also require the rate to be adjusted annually for inflation.

Nationwide, 18 states already have a higher minimum wage rate.

Earlier this month, Silver spoke about the need to bring New York up to par. He said the current minimum wage is unrealistically low.

“It’s absurd to expect anyone, let alone a working family, to afford the cost of living today,” he said.

It’s an issue both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have championed recently.

“The cost of living in New York City, like nearly everywhere else, has gone up,” Bloomberg said during his annual State of the City address. “And not just housing, but food, transit and all the key parts of a family’s budget. But there’s one thing that, in all fairness, hasn’t gone up: The ability of those at the bottom of the economic ladder to pay for those essential needs.”

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