Gov. Cuomo’s Wage Hike Proposal Draws Concern From Retailers

N.Y. governor wants minimum wage to jump to $8.75 from $7.25.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Retailers are concerned over Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to increase the state’s hourly minimum wage to $8.75 from $7.25 an hour to “bring it more in line with the cost of living.”

Cuomo said, “Reasonable minimum wage increases the standard of living for workers, reduces poverty and incentives fair and more efficient business practices. The current minimum wage represents only about one quarter of the average hourly wage in the state, which is $28. The change would take effect July 1, 2013.”

Ted Potrikus, executive vice president of the Retail Council of New York, said, “We are not opposed to the idea, but we need to see an increase done in steps rather than all at once. Instead of going from $7.25 to $8.75, why not go to $8.25? If you look at the 2004 law, they increased the minimum wage in three steps over a two-year period. While it is true that we are ready to work with the governor and the legislature as they try to get this done, we think there is a way to do it in a way that would not have a negative effect on the retail industry. If you raise the minimum, it’s going to have an inflationary impact on the entire wage scale.…No merchants can absorb an immediate $1-plus increase in the minimum wage.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “I firmly believe an indexing provision is crucial to ensuring that it keeps up low wage workers and provides them certainty. I look forward to a productive dialogue on this.”