Scientific Opinion Poll: New York Entrepreneurs Support Raising Minimum Wage, Giving Local Economies Wage Authority

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, April 21, 2014

New York small employers support increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to rise with the cost of living; believe cities and counties in New York should set and increase their own minimum wages above state̢??‰?s minimum wage to compensate for their area's cost of living

Washington, DCA scientific opinion poll released today shows New York entrepreneurs support increasing the minimum wage and believe local economies should be allowed to set and increase their own minimum wage above the state̢??‰?s minimum wage to compensate for their area̢??‰?s cost of living. Small employers in the Empire State believe increasing the minimum wage will enhance consumer spending, which can increase the demand for small firms' good and services and boost their businesses' bottom lines while strengthening the economy.

The poll, conducted Feb. 18-25 by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research on behalf of Small Business Majority, found 74 percent of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage and adjusting it annually to keep pace with the cost of living. What's more, two-thirds (66 percent) agree cities and counties in New York should set and increase their own minimum wage above the state's to ensure it makes sense for local economies. A sweeping 84 percent already pay all of their employees more than the federal minimum wage, with 0nly 16 percent paying one or more of their workers minimum wage.

"It's not really in my interest to only pay my workers the minimum wage. We pay all our employees more than the minimum wage and offer benefits to everyone who works more than 20 hours per week. This helps us attract the best talent and our employees stay with us longer, six to seven years on average," said Matt Grove, owner of Bagel Grove in Utica, NY. "In New York, the cost of living is so high that the current federal minimum wage just isn't practical. That's why it's important for local authorities to have the ability to set a minimum wage that works for the cost of living in a particular city or county. An increase that benefits workers will help smaller businesses that see their employees as family, remedying our concerns that our valued employees are not merely just scraping by."

Nearly three-fourths of New York small business owners (72 percent) agree increasing the minimum wage would not only help the economy, it would make low-income consumers more likely to spend money, driving up demand for small businesses' goods and services. In addition, 67 percent of respondents believe that increasing the minimum wage would help decrease pressure on taxpayer-financed government assistance that̢??‰?s needed to make up for low wages, as it would help people afford basic necessities that might otherwise be out of their financial reach.

̢???The majority of New York small business owners support raising the wage because most of them already pay their workers more than the minimum wage in order to attract and retain quality workers,̢???? said Erik Rettig, New York Outreach Manager for Small Business Majority. ̢???By raising it across the board for all businesses, and what̢??‰?s more, letting city and county authorities set and increase their local minimum wage to ensure it meets the needs for the cost of living in their area, more New Yorkers will have more money to spend at small businesses. This will help them create jobs, which strengthens the economy overall, creating an economic domino effect.̢????

Additionally, nearly half (45 percent) of respondents say raising the minimum wage would help make their businesses more competitive because business competitors wouldn̢??‰?t be able to undercut them on labor costs.

Increasing the minimum wage finds broad support among New York small business owners across a range of industries and political persuasions, showing small businesses do not view the issue through an ideological lens. The respondents were predominately Republican̢??‰??with 45 percent of small business owners identifying as Republican, 40 percent as Democrat and 15 percent as independent or other.

̢???Small businesses know that decent wages are a smart investment ̢??‰?? and that poverty-level wages at major companies like Walmart and McDonald̢??‰?s unfairly drain local communities and businesses of the spending power needed to sustain economic growth,̢???? said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project. ̢???With wide variations in the cost of living throughout New York state, it only makes sense for Albany to empower cities and counties to set higher minimum wages that reflect local economic conditions.̢????

For the full poll report, please visit:

About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority is a national small business advocacy organization, founded and run by small business owners to focus on solving the biggest problems facing America's 28 million small businesses today. Since 2005, we have actively engaged small business owners and policymakers in support of public policy solutions, and have delivered information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth and drive a strong, sustainable economy. We are a team of more than 30 working from our 11 offices in Washington, D.C. and 9 states, with a network of more than 45,000 small business owners and more than 2,000 business organizations, along with a formal strategic partnership program of more than 125 business organizations, enabling us to reach more than 500,000 entrepreneurs. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about issues including taxes, healthcare, access to capital, entrepreneurship, workforce development, clean energy and immigration. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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