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Min. Wage Increase Could Be Bad News for Local Small Biz

Associated Press

Local businesses are weighing in on Governor Cuomo’s proposed minimum wage hike saying it won’t be “business as usual” if the measure is approved. William Hawkins is the owner of Service Master H & S, a local commercial cleaning company. He says a 10% or 15% minimum wage increase would have been doable for his company, but he says Cuomo’s proposed 20% increase will force him to cut back on laborers if the measure is approved. In addition, Hawkins may have to increase customer billing rates which he says could negatively impact current contracts.

“My customers, I might have to go back to them and do an increase on their billing and some may not even go for that,” says Hawkins. “So they may let me go to find someone they can actually afford to do the work.”

Tim Mason, President of the Small Business Council of Rochester, an affiliate of the Rochester Business Alliance, says the 20% proposed wage increase likely wasn’t figured into 2013 budgets for small businesses in New York State. Mason adds if the proposal to increase minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 an hour is approved, it could be devastating for small businesses already having a difficult time staying profitable.

"Right now I know New York ranks 50th by the Tax Foundation on least friendly business climate in the nation,” says Mason. “And while I believe some level of the minimum wage increase is appropriate, a 20% increase in one fell swoop could have a major impact on small business."

Mason adds the hike could ultimately result in fewer entry-level jobs not only for businesses who hire students, but also those who hire retirees. If the measure is approved by the end of March, it could go into effect July 1st.