Scott Stringer: It Will Be ‘Challenging’ for Biz to Adapt to $13 Minimum Wage

Comptroller Scott Stringer. (Screengrab: NY1)

Comptroller Scott Stringer. (Screengrab: NY1)

Comptroller Scott Stringer wants the city’s minimum wage to soar more than $5, though he conceded yesterday businesses may struggle with the potential hike.

Mr. Stringer, appearing on NY1′s Inside City Hall, explained the rationale behind a report he released this week calling for a $13.13 city minimum wage, conceding that businesses would need to take time to adjust to the hefty boost.

“There’s no question that if you raise the minimum wage, it will be challenging for businesses to … adapt,” Mr. Stringer told host Errol Louis. “But they will adapt and when they do adapt you end up pumping money in this case potentially billions of dollars into local communities around New York City, though people who get a raise in salary go to local stores, they buy more at the local businesses so you’re really creating a trigger that will help our small businesses.”

Mr. Stringer unveiled a report on Monday that said boosting the minimum wage from $8–it will be $9 statewide by the end of 2015–will generate $115 million a week in new wages, increasing the spending power of New Yorkers. The analysis, however, did not examine how businesses would cope with the sudden hike and whether workers would have to be laid off to meet the new requirements.

Democrats in New York City have battled with Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year over the city’s minimum wage, which can only be raised by the state legislature. After Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Stringer ally, helped Mr. Cuomo net the endorsement of the labor-backed Working Families Party, Mr. Cuomo in turn endorsed a plan that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 next year and allow local municipalities to boost their own wages 30 percent higher. Mr. Stringer’s proposal represents the maximum extent of that raise.

“I said it would be important for Albany to allow municipalities like ours to set our own minimum wage and I think the proposal on the table makes a lot of sense,” Mr. Stringer said. “You raise it to $10.10 and give municipalities the option–doesn’t mean a guarantee–to consider a minimum wage beyond $10 an hour.”