As lawmakers in Albany, N.Y., contemplate a boost to the state's minimum wage, a group of business leaders came out Thursday in support of hiking the wage floor from $7.25 to $8.50, putting unusual pressure on state Republicans and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to shepherd the raise into law.
It's typically low-wage worker advocates and labor unions urging lawmakers to raise the minimum wage. So the statements made Thursday by business figures, including the head of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and an executive of big-box wholesaler Costco, undermine the stated concerns of some GOP lawmakers and industry lobbies that a $1.25 raise to the minimum wage would be an unfair burden on state businesses.
"We need to urge our legislators to vote on this bill. If they don’t get it done this year, it's not going away," Mark Jaffe, president of the Greater New York Chamber, said on a conference call with reporters. "Of course retailers and fast food [companies] with big powerful lobbyists want us to think this will chase business out of the state. But that’s not what we [heard] back from our membership."
Business for a Shared Prosperity, which hosted the call and bills itself as "network of forward-thinking business owners, executives and investors," said Thursday that more than 200 small business owners in the state had signed a joint statement saying that a higher minimum wage would be good for businesses, as well as workers.