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Cuomo Pushes Minimum Wage Increases in Rochester

Cuomo addresses the media after his speech on raising the minimum wage.
Cuomo addresses the media after his speech on raising the minimum wage.

Governor Cuomo joined Mayor Lovely Warren and Gary Bonadonna of the Rochester Joint Board to push his minimum wage increase agenda at Workers United.

The governor says the economy is on the upswing, and the state is producing more millionaires and billionaires than ever before. But, he says, that doesn't mean everyone is benefiting.

"It's not success when just those at the top do well because we define success as shared success. We want people all along that economic spectrum to do well."

The way to do that, Cuomo says, is to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour. The minimum wage is already scheduled to go up from $8.75 to $9.00 at the end of this year, but Cuomo says that's not enough.

"Nine dollars an hour is $18,000 a year. Just do the math. You can't do it on $18,000. Not in this state. Not with this cost of housing and this cost of living."

Unshackle Upstate is a vocal opponent of the governor's minimum wage plan, which they say disproportionately affects small businesses. Executive Director Greg Biryla says another increase is too much of an expense to absorb in too short a period of time.

"Employers who use minimum wage workers are going to see a labor cost increase of 45% in three years."

Biryla says before another raise, the governor needs to determine how current increase is affecting businesses.

Cuomo first introduced this minimum wage plan during his 2015 budget proposal, which he unveiled earlier this year.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.