Contact: Blake Case
email@example.com, (601) 832-6079
March 27, 2023—As New York lawmakers move closer to enacting a minimum wage increase through the state budget, due by April 1, a large and growing coalition of hundreds of businesses and business organizations is supporting raising and then indexing the state minimum wage. The statewide New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Coalition – from Buffalo and the Finger Lakes to the Capital Region and the Hudson Valley to New York City and the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce – supports the Raise the Wage Act (S1978A/A2204A) over Gov. Hochul’s inadequate proposal to index the minimum wage without first restoring its lost purchasing power.
Here are comments from some of the [now over] 300 businesses and business organizations in the fast-growing New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Coalition:
Phil Andrews, president of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, said, “Small businesses thrive when the people who are our customers have more money to spend. Low wages, on the other hand, lead to high employee turnover, which is costly for businesses in recruiting and training new workers, undermines customer service and product quality, and hurts sales. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the New York City Comptroller’s Office, among others, have found that previous New York minimum wage increases raised pay without hurting employment. Raising and then indexing the minimum wage to the cost of living will help us build a more resilient, more dynamic economy.”
Aaron Seyedian, owner of Well-Paid Maids in New York City, said, “Having doubled in size over the last year, I can tell you fair pay leads to more customers, as consumers search for the quality and reliability that comes from fairly-compensated employees. And increasing our starting wage has reduced turnover and saved us money and time. Turnover is incredibly expensive. In a sector known for low pay, our success is proof that fair wages are good for business in every industry.”
“Raising the minimum wage will help small businesses in Buffalo and across our state. People spend more money when they have more to spend,” said Johanna Dominguez, owner of Put a Plant On It in Buffalo. “We provide better pay and benefits, and our employees provide the friendly service that customers love. Our staff retention is great and I have a drawer full of applications from people who want to work here. If a small business like ours can do it, everyone can. The return on investment is so worth it.”
Jessica Galen, owner of Bloomy Cheese & Provisions in Dobbs Ferry, said, “I see the fate of my business as inextricably linked to the wellbeing of my community. It’s unacceptable and heartbreaking that so many neighbors in Westchester and around the state are struggling to make ends meet even with full-time jobs because of stagnating wages. Improving wages across the board will be good for businesses and workers alike.”
“The current minimum wage is grossly out of line with the cost of living in the Finger Lakes. It is critical that workers be able to economically survive here to maintain the livability of Ithaca and surrounding areas,” said J. Crispin Brotherton, owner of Brotherton Construction in Ithaca. “We pay a living wage and encourage business owners to think comprehensively about the long-term benefits of a collaborative approach with employees, good staff retention, and greater ability to satisfy customer needs and expectations.”
Freddy Castiblanco, owner of Terraza 7 in Elmhurst, said, “Nuestros pequeños negocios florecen cuando nuestros clientes tienen una buena capacidad de compra.” (“Our small businesses flourish when our customers have good purchasing power.”)
James Moore, president of SunCommon in Kingston, said, “SunCommon believes business should create positive change. We’ve helped over 10,000 homes, farms and businesses go solar acting on our mission to address the climate crisis. To support more vibrant New York communities, we’re supportive of raising the minimum wage, allowing more people to earn a living wage. When you invest in employees they provide better service, keeping customers happy, attracting new customers, and energizing your growth. And when New York raises the minimum wage, we’ll see that money circulate widely, boosting our entire economy.”
Scott Tillitt, founder of BEAHIVE coworking spaces in Albany, Beacon, Cold Spring and Newburgh, said, “A livable minimum wage is a critical component of a resilient local economy and healthier, more vibrant communities. Since 2009, we’ve worked with thousands of entrepreneurs, small businesses and community groups in the Hudson Valley, so we understand that raising and indexing the minimum wage will provide a much stronger floor for entrepreneurs across New York to build on.”
Visit our website for the growing list of New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage coalition members – now nearly 300 businesses and business organizations, and counting – and the New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement.
When New York enacted a $15 minimum wage in 2016, it did not include cost of living adjustments after reaching $15. The Raise the Wage Act (S1978A/A2204A) sponsored by Senate Labor Committee Chair Jessica Ramos and Assembly Labor Committee Chair Latoya Joyner, would fix this by incrementally raising the minimum wage to $21.25 with future annual adjustments so it does not again lose purchasing power as the cost of living rises. For perspective, the current MIT Living Wage Calculator says a full-time worker with no children needs to make $21.46/hour to meet basic expenses in New York State. The legislation has strong public support across the state, with 80% of New Yorkers supporting the proposal, according to a poll by Data for Progress.
The Raise the Wage Act (S1978A and A2204A) would increase New York’s minimum wage as follows:
In New York City, Long Island and Westchester it would increase to $17.25 on January 1, 2024; $19.25 in 2025; $21.25 in 2026; and $21.25 plus indexing in 2027.
In the rest of the state it would increase to $16 on Jan. 1, 2024; $18 in 2025; $20 in 2026; and $21.25 plus indexing in 2027.
Indexing would use the formula combining cost of living and labor productivity that has been used to increase the minimum wage Upstate. With labor productivity growth, workers produce more goods and services for a given number of work hours.
To arrange an interview with New York business leaders supportive of raising the minimum wage, please contact Blake Case at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 832-6079.
New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a coalition of business owners, executives and business organizations who support raising and indexing New York’s minimum wage.