In 2016, New York State enacted minimum wage increases to $15 on different timetables for Upstate/WNY, Long Island/Westchester, and New York City, but did not include cost of living adjustments after reaching $15. New legislation would fix this.
As business owners and executives, we support raising New York’s minimum wage. We can’t build a resilient economy and thriving communities on a minimum wage that’s too low for people to live on.
Workers are also customers. When people earn more as workers, they can afford to spend more as customers. Minimum wage increases go right back into the economy as spending at local businesses.
Raising the minimum wage is good business. Low-wage businesses have more trouble hiring and retaining employees, as workers look elsewhere to make ends meet. Raising the minimum wage pays off in lower employee turnover, lower hiring and training costs, increased productivity, and better customer service, which keeps customers coming back.
We support legislation that would gradually raise the minimum wage to restore lost buying power and then adjust the minimum wage annually to keep up with increased cost of living and labor productivity so that the minimum wage does not lose value. The minimum wage would increase as follows, starting in January 2024:
Year New York City, Long Island, Upstate, Western New York
Current $15.00 $14.20
2024 $17.25 $16.00
2025 $19.25 $18.00
2026 $21.25 $20.00
2027 $21.25 plus indexing* $21.25 plus indexing*
* Annual minimum wage adjustment using the current upstate formula combining cost of living and labor productivity. With labor productivity growth, workers produce more goods and services for a given number of work hours.
LARGER CONTEXT ON MINIMUM WAGES ABOVE $15: Multiple states and localities have minimum wages that are already higher than $15 and are adjusted annually. For example, the 2023 minimum wage in Flagstaff, AZ is $16.80; Denver, CO is $17.29; Seattle is $18.69 and the Washington State minimum wage is $15.74. California’s 2023 minimum wage is $15.50, with about 40 CA cities above the state rate, including many currently above $16 and $17 per hour.
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