When Democratic New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in 2016 hiking the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by December 2019, he stated that the bill was to serve “the needs of workers and businesses alike.”
New York City businesses are discovering that Cuomo’s intent is bearing bitter fruit.
According to The National Interest, “Roughly 77 percent of NYC restaurants have slashed employee hours. Thirty-six percent said they had to layoff employees and 90 percent had to increase prices following the minimum wage hike, according to a NYC Hospitality Alliance survey taken just one month after the bill took effect.”
The Wall Street Journal noted, “New York City’s minimum wage has increased three times for employers with at least 11 employees in the past three years. At the end of 2016, the hourly rate rose to $11 from $9 an hour. In 2018, the minimum wage jumped to $13 from $11 an hour. The rate will increase to $15 an hour for employers with 10 or fewer workers at the end of 2019.”
Susannah Koteen, owner of Lido Restaurant in Harlem, told the Journal, “What it really forces you to do is make sure that nobody works more than 40 hours. You can only cut back so many people before the service starts to suffer.”
Andrew Riggie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance said, “Many people working in the restaurant industry wanted to work overtime hours, but due to the increase, many restaurants have cut back or totally eliminated any overtime work. There’s only so much consumers are willing to pay for a burger or a bowl of pasta.”
Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books, told the Journal, “With raising minimum wage to living wage, it feels now like we’re at the bottom of the pay spectrum. There’s absolutely no benefit to being a retail business in New York.”
Thomas Grech, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, added of small businesses in the city, “They’re cutting their staff. They’re cutting their hours. They’re shutting down. It’s not just the rent.”
John Bonizio, owner of Metro Optics Eyewear, echoed, “As a retailer, I was not opposed to the minimum-wage increase because it puts more money or more disposable income into the pockets of people who are my customers. But, what you have to stop doing is picking the pockets of small businesses.”
A survey conducted in February of 197 working economists found 74% opposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and almost half (43%) thought that the federal minimum wage should be eliminated altogether. The Employment Policies Institute’s survey revealed how hostile the economists were toward raising the federal minimum wage with various findings: 88% of economists thought an acceptable federal minimum wage should be less than $15; 66% agreed that an appropriate federal minimum wage would be $10 an hour or less. 84% thought a $15 minimum wage would negatively affect youth employment; 77% believed that the minimum wage hike would have a negative impact on the number of jobs available.