An increase to the minimum wage in New York would mean a boost to the economy. The wage would just need to increase to $15 per hour to see a $6.5 billion increase to the state’s economy. Supporters of the increase have shared this and challenged critics to provide a reason not to see an increase to the amount people are paid.
New York Daily News reports that more than 900,000 city workers would benefit from their hourly minimum wage increasing to just $15. The Labor Department for the state shared a report on Wednesday to show that it would mean the economy would increase by $6.5 billion, which would mean businesses would do better and more people could earn a liveable wage. The report also predicted that 2.3 million workers would benefit from the increase to the current wage.
There are many families currently struggling below the poverty line, and others very close to it. To see a rise in the amount they are paid would mean they not only rise out of poverty but the economy overall becomes stronger. Governor Cuomo proposed the new rate, suggesting that lawmakers bring it in so that everyone has a fair pay; something they deserve.
Despite sharing some compelling evidence, not everyone is on the same side. National Federation of Independent Business Mike Durant says that the analysis shared does not give a “comprehensive examination” of the resources the state has available. Labor costs would rise by 67 percent, and that would mean a strain on businesses. Many already argue that businesses may not be able to increase the wages they pay their workers and would either be forced to make individuals redundant or close the business altogether. That would mean more individuals out of work, a weaker economy, and more families struggling to house and feed themselves.
The Empire Center for Public Policy shared a report last year that said a rise to $15 per hour would mean the loss of 200,000 jobs. It is this report that suggests it is not possible, and that is something Cuomo seems to have ignored in his own study.
Others have argued that a raise in the minimum wage would be unfair in the system. Those who work traditionally low-technical jobs, including fast food workers and waitresses, could find themselves being paid the same as someone who has gained a degree and is doing a highly-skilled graduate job because of it. It would make the cost of schooling pointless, as graduates would no longer be earning a higher wage to justify their student loans.
Cuomo has addressed the fear of businesses having to let employees go, but only briefly. He said that the rise to the minimum wage should happen gradually. He would like to see the city receive the increase first by the end of 2018 and then the rest of the state by the middle of 2021. He argues that businesses would have time to set motions in place to ensure enough income to pay workers, or make changes to other aspects to ensure no loss of business. However, in the current economy, some protesters against the rise have said that there is no guarantee this would happen.
Senator Sara Gelser has said that she supports the idea of a gradual increase to the minimum rate employees are paid in Oregon, according to the Gazette Times. She would like to see an initial increase to $12.50, which would go up to $13.50 and then $15 over a six year period. Six years would give more time for businesses to put in the changes necessary to avoid financial difficulties. Gelser sat on the Senate Committee of Workforce and General Government, which approved the three-tiered increase approach last Friday. She argues that should the legislature not agree with this six-year plan, the November ballot could lead to a two-tier minimum wage increase plan implemented by 2019.
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