Advocates cite large donations for State Senate opposition to minimum wage increase
Posted at: 06/11/2012 4:01 PM
| Updated at: 06/11/2012 5:38 PM
By: Bill Lambdin
ALBANY - With only days remaining in this year's legislative session, there is no movement toward raising the New York minimum wage of 7 dollars and 25 cents an hour.
"A small group of extremely wealthy elites are holding hostage a bill that would benefit hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are in desperate need," said Colin Donnaruma of Occupy Albany.
Indeed, polling indicates about three quarters of New Yorkers support raising the minimum.
But on the other side are many employers who pay the minimum or just slightly more, like the New York Association of Convenience Stores.
"It would increase our payroll costs by 17% at a time when our business is not up, " said association president James Calvin. "Our sales are down."
Calvin argues the raise being discussed would come at a time when New York's policies toward cigarette tax enforcement, gasoline sales and other issues are already pushing their business down.
"Something's got to give and the only two options that I can think of are we can employ fewer people and maybe scale back the benefits of the people that we keep or we can increase our prices by 17%," Calvin said.
But Sara Niccoli of the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State complains "our elected officials have been bought by big business and they're being paid not to do what the majority of New Yorkers are asking them to do this year."