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By Karen Juanita Carrillo
New York Amsterdam News, March 2, 2023

More than 200 New York businesses and business organizations have signed on to the New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement, which calls for passage of legislation that would raise the state’s minimum wage and index future increases to the cost of living.

The business owners signing on to the statement say they believe that with higher salaries, wage earners will become confident consumers who will have the income to help spur the local economy.

“Prices have increased but the minimum wage has not kept up,” said Phil Andrews, president of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce. “I see people going into supermarkets, and they go back out the door because they can’t afford things. We can’t sustain a viable economy this way. 

“Raising the minimum wage boosts consumer spending, which is important for workers and businesses. Our programs help small businesses and workforce development. There is a strong connection between employee pay and employee retention. More experienced, better trained employees deliver better customer service and improve your business. Raising and indexing the minimum wage will help Long Island’s economic development.”

For Darius Ross, managing director of the real estate investment/property management firm D Alexander Ross Real Estate Capital Partners, this issue hits close to home. ... "I’ve been there—back when the minimum wage was $3.35, back in the ’80s. I came from a family of both fortunate people and unfortunate people, so I get it, I know it.

“If people have more money, they’re going to spend more money—it’s simple.” 

The Raise the Wage Act (S1978A and A2204A), sponsored by Senate Labor Committee Chair Jessica Ramos and Assembly Labor Committee Chair Latoya Joyner, aims to incrementally raise New York State’s minimum wage. It would increase to ... $21.25 plus indexing in 2027. Annual adjustments would ensure that the raises remain in line with purchasing power as the cost-of-living rises.

“I stand by it because I was a product of, as we say, ‘coming from nothing’ and then building from that,” Ross said. “Had it not been for increases in minimum wages because of some of the laws that took place, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Those laws are actually what changed the game.” ...

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