New York Considers Minimum Wage Increase

Small-business owners in New York upset over plan to raise the minimum wage.

The New York state legislature is considering increasing the minimum wage in the state by $1.25 to $8.50, and also index it to inflation, the New York Post reported.

A spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he is “optimistic” that the minimum-wage measure, which is a top priority for the legislature, will pass this year.

Small-business owners in New York, however, are less enthusiastic about the potential wage increase.

“You’re talking about a 17-18% increase in the wage of your minimum worker who isn’t even trained,” Pat Orzano, who owns a 7-Eleven store in Massapequa told the New York Post. Speaking for her business, and not 7-Eleven Corp., Orzano noted the new minimum wage would hurt small businesses, and that raising the pay of new workers could negatively impact other workers with more experience. “By doing that, those experienced workers in the $8-to-$9-an-hour bracket would suddenly feel, since they have put two or three years into the business, that now they’re at or near the minimum wage,” Orzano was quoted as saying.

Those in favor of the increase note the minimum wage has been raised several times previously and businesses managed to adjust. Meanwhile, business groups have been coming together to fight higher labor costs.

Orzano pointed out that retail sales have been flat and taxes are growing, which means raising the state minimum wage by 17% in the current economy would be a hardship for the average small business and could cause businesses to have to cut staff. “None of us have had 17 percent increases in our sales,” she noted.

Kerri Biche, a spokeswoman for Silver, noted the wage increase has a positive side for businesses. “These people getting the higher wage will be spending more money in their communities. They will be able to buy more from these businesses.”




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