ALBANY, N.Y. — A conceptual budget has been met on the New York State minimum wage to be raised to $9 an hour.
The increase will be phased in over a three-year period from $7.25 to $8 an hour by Jan. 1, 2014; $8 to $8.75 by January 2015, and $9 an hour by Jan. 1, 2016.
The agreement between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau), Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Klein (WF, I-Bronx) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-NY) does not include any indexing in the increase.
Ted Potrikus, legislative representative of the Retail Council of New York State said he was “pleased this is the course that they have followed. We and our members have said all along that an increase in minimum wage was inevitable in New York State by some measures. We never disagreed with this discussion at all.
“Rather than cross our arms and just say no we asked the legislature and the governor to recognize the reality from a business standpoint, and this looks like what they have done,” explained Potrikus. “By phasing the minimum wage by three steps and by getting rid of the indexing it gives the retail community a level of certainty and time to get ready to do this.
“This will bring about higher wages for more than just minimum wage earners. So this is something retailers need to pay attention to. That is the thrust of our argument which is not to say yes to all minimum wages. We said if there was to be an increase this is the way to do it,” said Potrikus.
Mike Durant, representative of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said “throughout the entire debate our position all along has been against it and our position is still the same.”
“We believe financially this will have a disastrous effect on small business particularly upstate and the thought that $300 or $400 million in tax cuts and credits could offset this increase is absolutely not true,” explained Durant.
Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said “people in New York are struggling to survive, with 21 percent of all people in New York City (a city of extraordinary wealth) living below the federal poverty line. The deal reached to raise the minimum wage is an important first step.
“We also thank the members of the legislature and Gov. Cuomo for supporting a stronger bill that would have implemented a $9 an hour increase immediately with indexing; $8 an hour is still better than $7.25 an hour, although New York’s working poor need and deserve more,” said Appelbaum.