SYOSSET - Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to raise the state's minimum wage is taking criticism from skeptics who say $15 an hour wages will hurt small businesses.
The state's current minimum wage is $9 an hour. Under Cuomo's proposal, it would rise to $10.75 by the end of the year, and then slowly increase each year until it hits $15 an hour in July of 2021. The governor has already issued an executive order to phase-in a wage hike to $15 for state employees and fast-food workers.
Some business owners say their costs are already stacking too high.
"We'd have one option, and that's to increase our prices," says Anthony Laurino, co-owner of Phil's Pizza in Syosset. "It's just getting harder and harder to get through the week. At the end of the week you pay your bills, you put a little money aside for repairs and stuff like that, and if there's a little bit left over for us, there is."
To offset the costs, Cuomo has proposed a series of tax cuts for businesses, but skeptics aren't convinced there’s enough money backing the proposal to make those cuts go far enough.
"I think it's $300 million statewide, which is a lot of money, but on a statewide basis it's next to nothing. It's a drop in the bucket," says state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore).
Boyle says he believes a compromise wage increase will eventually be part of the new state budget, which is due April 1. But the issue is likely to be one of the most debated among lawmakers.