New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will raise the minimum wage for state workers to $15 (£9.92) an hour.
The announcement came on the same day as protestors gathered across the US to raise the federal minimum wage.
Opponents of the governor’s move said it was an attempt to “circumvent the legislature.”
Over the summer Mr Cuomo raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers.
The increase applies to state workers and will come into effect gradually.
A spokesman for The Business Council of New York said, “We believe the legislature should have a voice in this process. People forget we already have a wage increase to $9 an hour coming later this year that the legislature agreed to.”
In his announcement the governor called New York the “progressive capital” of the US and said the state was “leading by example and creating an economy that is defined by opportunity.”
The announcement came after a day of protests in 270 US cities organised by the group Fight for 15 to increase support for raising the federal minimum wage.
This feature originally appeared in BBC.