Nine local company executives and heads of business groups have endorsed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour across the state and $11.50 in New York City, the governor announced Monday.
The group includes Mitchell Pally, chief executive of the Long Island Builders Institute and board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Anne Shybunko-Moore, owner of defense contractor GSE Dynamics in Hauppauge and a member of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, which Cuomo established in 2011.
They do not represent the region's largest business group, the Long Island Association, which opposes raising the minimum wage beyond the already approved 25 cent increase set to go into effect Dec. 31. The wage is now $8.75.
Cuomo's proposed wage hike is opposed by the state Senate's Republican majority.
In the Assembly, the Democratic majority wants to raise the wage to $12.60 per hour by the end of 2018 upstate and to $15 in New York City, Westchester County and on Long Island. The Assembly also would tie future increases to the inflation rate.
Cuomo is pushing to include his wage increase in the 2015-16 state budget, which is due April 1.
Matthew Cohen, government affairs vice president at the LIA, said, "Right now, we are in the midst of a phase-in of a minimum-wage increase. The economic impact on small businesses should be examined before additional increases are mandated."
The local leaders embracing Cuomo's plan pay their employees above the minimum wage now, for the most part. The others in the group are Robert Fonti, Suffolk chairman of the Long Island Business Council; Adrian Fassett, president of the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk; Keith Barrett, president of the Huntington Station Business Improvement District; Alan Steinger, president of Top Hat Imagewear; Misha Migdal, owner of Supreme Screw Products; Nelson Hernandez, president of Empresarios por El Cambio (Entrepreneurs for Change), and Jamie Moore, president of the defense group ADDAPT.
"I can confidently say that raising the minimum wage would not hurt my business, and on the contrary, I am excited about the proposed increase," said Steinger, whose Hempstead company makes uniforms for employees of hotels, casinos and restaurants. "It means more money flowing in this community."
Pally said, "Raising the minimum wage will give Long Island's workers more cash to spend. . . . This increase in consumer demand will have a significant impact on businesses."