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Cuomo's proposed Minimum Wage increase isn't a done deal

Credit Executive Chamber


In last week’s State of the State Address, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour across the state and $11.50 in New York City by the end of 2016. 

State business leaders criticize the measure they say would force them to slow hiring and cut hours.

Sharon Stiller is a Rochester based employment law expert. She says any change will affect state businesses.

"It's pure economics. The more businesses spend on fixed costs, such as labor, the less they have available for profit or expanding or things of the sort. It is a consideration."

The minimum wage is already scheduled to increase from the current $8.75 to $9 an hour by 2016. 

Any minimum wage increase would have to pass a resistant Republican led Senate first. Meanwhile, Cuomo’s critics on the left don’t believe the increase is enough.

Cuomo says it’s a move to lift low-wage workers out of poverty, but according to Stiller there are other ways to address the issue.

"In certain industries, New York requires that a prevailing wage be paid, which is higher than the minimum wage."

And unlike some other states, New York doesn't allow municipalities to establish their own minimum wage.

Michelle Faust, MA, is a reporter/ producer whose work focuses strongly on issues related to health and health policy. She joined the WXXI newsroom in February 2014, and in short time became the lead producer on the Understanding the Affordable Care Act series. Michelle is a reporter with the health collaborative Side Effects and regularly contributes to The Innovation Trail. Working across media, she also produces packages for WXXI-TV’s weekly news magazine Need to Know.