WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – A Mount Kisco small business owner supports President Barack Obama in his push to get Congress to raise the federal minimum wage .
Will Cook, who owns a small psychotherapy practice in Mount Kisco, said if entry level jobs paid $10 per hour there would be less turnover and more job security, which could lead to those entry level workers moving up in the organization more often.
Additionally, the part-time professional photographer said a higher minimum wage would allow people to spend more money in their community, which would help the economy.
“For a small business owner, at first this would be a tough nut. But in the long run it will help them,” said Cook, who practiced psychotherapy for 17 years at the Therapy Center in Bedford Hills before moving to his Mount Kisco location in 2013. “I think raising the minimum wage is almost like a mini-stimulus package.”
Obama recently issued an executive order requiring businesses with federal contracts to pay employees at least $10.10 per hour, up from the current minimum wage of $7.25. He did this in hopes that Congress will raise the minimum wage for everyone.
However, Sharon Witlin of Chappaqua isn’t confident that Congress would make that change.
“I think that people should make a livable wage. But, I also think that raising the minimum wage isn’t necessarily going to have the impact that Obama wants it to have,” she said.
Thong Huynh agreed that it is a good idea, but said “a lot of young people would lose their job.”
A recent national survey of 1,213 businesses and human resource professionals showed that 19 percent would fire workers. Another 39 percent would reduce hiring, a number that jumps to 54 percent for those paying their workers the federal minimum wage. More than half responded that they would raise prices, according to the Express Employments Professionals survey.
“I think it’s a good idea. Of course, I’m not a business owner, so I suppose it’s where you’re coming from,” Madeline Finesmith, of Chappaqua, said.
Finesmith said minimum wage should be increased as a matter of fairness to workers, but isn’t sure if it will necessarily help the economy.
Jeannette Brakhia, of Yonkers, said the minimum wage has been increased before and that she doesn’t see why it can’t be raised again.
“It’s about time,” she said.
New York's minimum wage increased to $8 in 2014 and will go up to $9 in 2016.