(WSYR-TV) -- Governor Cuomo says it just doesn’t add up. The average cost of groceries, gas, bills and children adds up to more than a person making minimum wage can afford. That’s why he’s proposing to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.75 per hour.
The United State Department of Labor has outlined minimum wage laws throughout the country.
According to a map on their website
, there are 19 states with a higher minimum wage than New York and four that have a lower minimum wage. Washington has the highest at $9.19 per hour and there are five states that don’t have minimum wage laws at all.
If the minimum wage in NY is raised, we’d join the rest of our coastal neighbors and Governor Cuomo says it’s about time. However, many small businesses disagree.
Eileen Brophy runs a janitorial services company and starts her employees at $8.50 per hour. That’s $1.25 more than the current minimum wage. She says a higher minimum wage attracts the hardest workers.
“By paying people more, I might interview 10 people for one job because I want the right person,” Brophy said.
Brophy’s competitors often pay minimum wage, which gives her a competitive advantage. An advantage she says she’d lose if the minimum wage were to increase and she’d have to start her employees at 25 cents more – an expense she may have to pass along to clients.
“I can see clients reducing service. I can see employees losing jobs because now, instead of cleaning five days a week, clients may go to three or two to afford the additional expense,” Brophy explained.
Brophy says most of her 115 employees are part time. Proponents of the minimum wage hike are focused more on those who rely solely on one job.
“The annual cost of child care is $10,000; the annual cost of housing is $15,000, on a minimum wage of $14,000, my friends it does not add up,” Governor Cuomo said during Wednesday’s State of the State address.
Syracuse Common Councilor Helen Hudson also supports the wage hike to help reduce the government’s role in providing social services and raise people’s standard of living.
“I was a single mother making minimum wage and I had a house, a car, a kid. It was tough. Thank God I had my mom, but if I didn't have her I don't know where I would have ended up. And that was 20 years ago. 20 years later, nothing has changed,” Hudson said.
While Democrats support the Governor’s proposal, Republicans – who control the Senate – prefer business tax breaks to spur the economy.