Increasing the minimum wage will boost New York state’s economy. Our ongoing economic doldrums are the direct result of reduced demand. A higher minimum wage will boost local demand. And a growing body of research shows that raising the minimum wage does not increase unemployment, even in hard economic times.
The proposed additional $1.25 an hour will put an extra $2,500 a year in the pockets of a full-time minimum wage earner, someone likely to spend it all locally. It will encourage businesses to invest in their employees’ skills and health, and thereby reduce employee turnover.
And that employee is more than likely to be a woman — who are the large majority of minimum wage workers.
Yes, small business owners hardest hit by the increase will pass it along to us, their consumers. But I hope we are willing to pay a nickel more for our hamburgers if it means their employees will be better able to meet their families’ needs.