Lawmakers Propose To Increase Minimum Wage

April 5, 2012 Updated Apr 5, 2012 at 9:03 AM EDT

By WKBW News

April 5, 2012 Updated Apr 5, 2012 at 9:03 AM EDT

Albany, N.Y. (WKBW) – Lawmakers have proposed a bill to increase wages from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 per hour. Those opposed said it would cause many businesses to close or cut staff. Supporters said it would stimulate the economy, raising pay for not only minimum wage workers but for thousands of other New Yorkers.

Roughly, 600 thousand New Yorkers will be directly affected by this wage hike, but nearly 400 thousand more who are making just above the proposed new rate, would also get a raise. Employers will be forced to adjust their pay structures to reflect the new minimum wage.

Many business owners and Republicans worry that a pay hike could hurt in a down economy and end up leading to massive layoffs.

Earlier in the week, Democrats released a study showing a move will add $600 million in economic stimulus. Shortly after that report, another poll was released in the passed day, showing that 78 percent of New Yorkers support a raise, while only 20 percent oppose it. Even a majority of Republicans, 53 percent, agree with the wage hike. Of those who support the increase, 52 percent want it even higher than the proposed $8.50 per hour.

This new economic activity could also spark job growth. New York is expected to gain about 4700 payroll jobs and more than 5,00 full-time jobs.

Lawmakers will discuss the bill when they reconvene in two weeks.