Proposed minimum wage changes highlight differences
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed 2024 budget is not being met without criticism. One topic, in particular, is frustrating people on both sides of the aisle — minimum wage.
Hochul’s budget wants to cap minimum wage increases to 3% annually or to the rate of the year-over-year Consumer Price Index, whichever comes first. Jessica Maxwell, the executive director of the Workers’ Center of central New York, said that this would already put workers at a deficit to combat the inflation rate.
“Last year we saw 6% inflation,” Maxwell said. “So that would also make it so that workers would never be able to fully reach what they deserve.”
New York Republican State Assemblyman William Barclay said that while he and his counterparts are not opposed to raising the minimum wage, people have to understand that it impacts employers as well.
“It can be very expensive on employers and we are already struggling to keep job creators in New York State,” Barclay said.
Barclay also said that in order for workers’ and business owners’ needs to be met, New York State has to change their money mentality
“We just have to change the way we are doing business in New York, government business,” Barclay said. “The tax and spend mentality of my colleagues across the aisle is just not sustainable.”
Maxwell said that while these changes are not enough to meet the needs of minimum-wage workers, indexing is one way to try.
“Indexing really is the path forward,” Maxwell said. “Otherwise, we always end up behind.”
Barclay said that although indexing could be good for finances, using the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, might not be the best.
“Raising wages creates inflation,” Barclay said. “So the CPI goes up, we are going to be in a cycle where we are raising wages when inflation is going up, and that doesn’t help anybody.”
This and the rest of Hochul’s proposed budget is under legislative review ahead of the start of the fiscal year on April 1.