New York Conditionally Approves Raising Minimum Wage To $15 In Budget Deal — Big Apple To Get More Expensive?

New York has conditionally approved raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a phased manner.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders hammered out a deal to raise the lowest amount a worker can be paid to $15 an hour. The New York senate had been debating on the measure since Friday and approved raising the minimum wage, matching what California lawmakers had approved merely a day earlier.

While California Gov. Jerry Brown confirmed he would sign the minimum wage bill on Monday after it had been passed, his counterpart in New York had reached a tentative deal with top lawmakers to raise the state’s base wage, reported KHQ.

Speaking about the increase, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “This minimum wage increase will be of national significance. It’s raising the minimum wage in a way that’s responsible.”

Although the approval is expected to affect about two million workers across the New York State, the approval to fast track the increase in minimum wage isn’t applicable to all the establishments within the region. While the deal surely applies to New York City, small businesses, as well as surrounding counties, still have time before they have to implement the $15 an hour minimum wage, and the scale might get revised depending on the economic conditions. Notably, in the less affluent areas north of the city, the raise is limited to $12.50. Moreover, a state review will be conducted to judge the impact of the revised pay scale.

How will the $15 minimum wage be implemented? The increase in the minimum wage from the current $9 an hour to $15 in New York has been an undeniably bitter truth for many. Nonetheless, the increase will be gradual and in stages.

The pay scale will start to get revised from the last day of this year and should hit $15 an hour in 2019. Micro businesses in the NYC, who have less than 10 employees, get an additional year to increase the minimum wage. Counties like Long Island and Westchester get a total of six years, even while the rest of the state has about five years to increase the wage to $12.50 an hour.

There will be a state review that might or might not approve further increase, reported ABC Eyewitness News. Furthermore, the push to $15, which gained momentum on the social media with hashtags #FightFor$15, #MinimumWage, and #RaiseTheWage, among others, might get derailed if economic conditions are deemed to be non-conducive. State budget and labor officials are expected to make a call on the further increase in the minimum wage after considering economic indicators like inflation.

Will the increase in minimum wage to $15 an hour hurt businesses? The current highest minimum wage is $10.50 in Washington D.C., followed by $10 in California and Massachusetts. The jump to $15 an hour could hurt the small businesses. Republicans have expressed their concern that the increase will lead to inflation and cement the idea that New York is hostile to businesses and imposing a burden on them. Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno went on to add that the wage increase could force small businesses to downsize.

“The increase would force small-business owners to make layoffs with tears in their eyes.”

Senate Republicans initially managed to wear down Cuomo, who had proposed a much simpler increase. The governor had proposed a three-year time frame for New York City and six years for other counties. However, Senate Republicans complained such a sudden and sharp increase would hurt businesses.

Numerous studies have routinely indicated contradicting effects of the minimum wage increase to $15, but the common consensus is the impact would eventually fall on customers, while a higher minimum wage would generally raise incomes.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

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