Updated 03/06/2013 06:13 PM
Minimum wage debates continues after Assembly bill passes
New York State is one step closer to increasing its minimum wage. But not everybody is in favor of the idea. The State Assembly voted to increase the rate to $9 an hour Tuesday. Some Southern Tier businesses are worried about the extra costs. Our Melissa Kakareka takes a look at what people on both sides of the issue want.
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BINGHAMTON. N.Y. -- Trying to pay the bills on a minimum wage job can be tough for many people. But some advocates say raising the rate could be just as tough on businesses, especially if it's tied to the rate of inflation.
"If you tie it to inflation, you're really talking about a minimum wage in the $11 to $12 category. Small businesses can't afford this," said President and CEO of the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce Lou Santoni.
It was one of the topics on the agenda at a luncheon hosted by the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.
Advocates from the local business community say the increase approved by the Assembly is too much at one time. Some owners would cut their workforce. Business leaders are hoping to see other solutions.
"If you do regulatory reform, if you reduce costs in health care, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, fix overzealous regulations that go way beyond what the federal regulations are, you are going to give small businesses more flexibility to pay workers what they can afford in compensation," said National Federation of Independent Business State Director Mike Durant.
Advocates on the other side say they recognize the concerns of businesses. Still, they believe an increase would benefit not only workers, but the entire economy.
"When we increase the minimum wage, the standard of living goes up, the money is reintroduced into the economy immediately, there is a benefit for all of us with a minimum wage increase," said Citizen Action Upstate Campaigns Manager Lawrence Parham.
Some advocates in the Southern Tier say they see the Assembly's move as progressive and hope the Senate takes the bill under serious consideration.
"The business community is actually divided. Some entities can see the economic benefit of raising the minimum wage immediately, and I would like the Senate to keep that in consideration," said Parham.
The Assembly also approved a minimum wage increase last year, but the State Senate never took it up.