Small businesses not too keen on proposed minimum wage hike


Governor Cuomo wants to give all minimum wage earners a $60 a week, nearly $250 a month, raise. The head of the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce, which actually has a small-business council, has another word for the hike. It's a dirty word, in the world of business.

"I think it'll end up being another tax and a burden to small businesses and you'll find out that they won't be able to hire as many people and may ultimately close because of it," says Pamela Matt, Executive Director for the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber in April of 2012 passed a resolution opposing a hike to the minimum wage. At the time, a lesser hike of $1.25 was proposed. The governor is currently proposing raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 per hour.

Small business owner Frank Elias already pays his Utica Coffee Roasting Co. employees more than minimum wage. But he says that doesn't spare him the impact of the proposed mammoth hike.

"We don't pay minimum wage here, we don't. But those people who are earning slightly above, $8, $8.50, $8.25, they're all going to expect an increase and we're going to have to follow suit," says Elias.

Office of General Services Commissioner Roann Destito on Thursday delivered a condensed, localized, 'state of the region' address on the governor's behalf at Utica College. She says the governor is mindful of the impact and his plans to soften the blow for employers. Destito says in the end, the move will help breathe new life into upstate New York's lagging job growth.

"I think it will help because combined with that we're going to see reform in the workman's comp area, where the governor wants to bring the worker's comp costs down and he wants to work on unemployment," says Destito.

The hike is just a proposal and would have to be approved by the state legislature.

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