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. 

“It’s a controversial subject among my peers,” Ross confessed to the Amsterdam News. “But 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 $17.25 on January 1, 2024; $19.25 in 2025; $21.25 in 2026; and $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.”

Labor union campaigners have long pushed to have more wage earners “share in the wealth” created by their labor. Advocating for wage income increases as industries become more prosperous means that the wealthy elite aren’t the only ones to realize the benefits created by the labor workforce. “When New York enacted a $15 minimum wage in 2016, it did not include cost of living adjustments after reaching $15,” New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage said in a press release. “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 recent poll by Data for Progress.”

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1 Comment

  1. lets do this new york Im a full time employee at 17.50 an hour and also single and still struggling . we need to get this right and help the lower middle class live a comfortable life. this also will help small businesses not hurt them. if people dont have money to spend your store will not make any money its just as simple as it will EVER get.

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