At a Senate Democratic Conference hearing Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader John Sampson said the push to increase minimum wage in the state is one that’s vital to low-income workers’ ability to maintain a standard of living in the state, Gannett’s Aaron Scholder reports.
“It’s about justice. Making sure that we give the dignity and the quality of life that those employees deserve. Because the more you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your business,” Sampson said.
He said the issue was one that his constituents must realize the importance of to New Yorkers.
“I think we have to go less with the rhetoric and put a human face to what is going on,” Sampson said. “It shouldn’t be about political pressure, it’s about moral pressure. It’s not about doing what is politically correct, it’s about doing what’s morally correct.”
Senate Democrats said the increased money given to minimum-wage workers could go a long way in helping the state’s economy.
“It is essential that we guide this issue forward,” said Sen. Timothy Kennedy, D-Buffalo. “(Increasing the minimum wage) will help working men and women, will help working families, it will help them live a better life. It will also help the businesses that will be the product of more money being infused in the economy throughout New York state.”
Business owners, whom Republican leaders say would be hurt by an increase in wage, said at the hearing that they would support an increase because their workers are struggling to subsist at the current $7.25 rate.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, essentially ruled out approving a minimum wage increase earlier today.
David Levine, the CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, said minimum-wage workers typically put the money they earn directly back into the local economy, something which he said would only increase with a higher wage.
“For us a higher minimum wage makes good business sense. It puts money back in the hands of New Yorkers who put it right back into our businesses here locally,” Levine said.