NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Mayor Bill de Blasio, promoting his message of income equality, pressed influential New York City business leaders Thursday to raise their workers’ starting pay to $13 an hour.

De Blasio appeared at a gathering of the Association for a Better New York — a group that has not always seen eye-to-eye with the liberal mayor.

De Blasio has asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to raise New York’s minimum wage to $13; Albany, to this point, has balked.

The state’s current minimum wage, $8.75, is slated to go to $9 at year’s end. Cuomo’s new budget plan would raise it to $11.50 in New York City and $10.50 outside the city.

At the event at The Pierre hotel in Manhattan, De Blasio urged the business group to do more to uplift the city’s struggling residents, and encouraged its members to back his overhaul of New York’s workforce-training program, as well as his expansion of the city’s living wage law. He also asked them to support his plan to develop or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing by 2024.

“Companies across our city should move as quickly as possible to raise their minimum wage to over $13 an hour,” he said to a mild applause, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

The mayor mentioned that The Gap, Aetna and Costco as making progress on wages.

“They believe it’s a good thing to do, but the core impulse is much more practical,” de Blasio said. “They know that working people who have enough money to spend fuel a strong economy.”

The association holds a significant place in the story of de Blasio’s political rise.

In 2012, he was an overlooked, long-shot mayoral candidate when he used a speech to the group to announce his plan to raise taxes on the rich to fund a prekindergarten expansion, a proposal that became the centerpiece of his campaign.

A year later, he returned to address the association again just days before he became mayor. Thursday marked his first remarks to the group as mayor.

Though de Blasio’s relations with Wall Street executives and other business leaders could hardly be considered cozy, they have improved somewhat, in part due to the mayor’s outreach. He recently hosted several industry heavyweights for meetings at City Hall and worked with several business leaders during the city’s ill-fated bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

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