As the fight over raising the state's minimum wage rages on, President Obama unveiled his support for an even bigger pay increase for workers. Encouraging news for advocates, but YNN's Lori Chung explains why some say a wage hike might actually hurt the still-struggling economy.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- "We've been fighting so hard to get $8.75," said Sara Niccolli, Executive Director of the Labor Religion Coalition of New York State.
But as Governor Anderw Cuomo and labor advocates push to raise the state's minimum wage, comes an encouraging word from President BarackObama.
“Raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour,” Obama said.
More ambitious that Cuomo's proposal, but hailed as proof that New York continues to be a leader on key issues.
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, “New York State is a microcosm of the country and the president was right on target."
New York's base now is $7.25. Labor groups have rallied state lawmakers to act.
Niccolli said, "We know it's about 78 to 80 percent of people support the campaign. We know if the politicians are listening to the people, then we'll get this wage raise.”
While advocates and supporters say creating a livable wage for all workers is a no-brainer, there are those who worry about the effect it will have on businesses and ultimately the economy.
"They're looking at anywhere from 17 to 20 percent increase in costs per employee," said Mike Durant of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
And while advocates say a wage hike will boost spending, small business leaders say it could be devastating for job creators.
"It may not end their business, but it could become the straw the breaks the camel's back for some of them because they're operating in the red," Durant said.
One difference between the Governor's plan and the president is that Obama is proposing tying the minimum wage to the cost of living to allow for regular adjustment. For now, Cuomo is not including indexing.