RIVERTOWNS, N.Y. -- Local workers, business owners and others reacted Thursday to President Barack Obama's recent executive order mandating that any businesses with federal contracts pay workers at least $10.10 an hour starting in 2015.
The president urged Congress to do the same for all workers. Many states and cities have increased the minimum wage at the local level. About 1.6 million workers earn a minimum $7.25 per hour today, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Advocates say a minimum wage increase could reduce income inequality but critics say it could raise prices and lead to job losses.The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. The minimum wager in New York State is $8 an hour.
"Many people think these low wage jobs are for teens and people in college, take a closer look It's not true," Adam Waters of Hastings-On-Hudson said. "Many people with these jobs are the only breadwinners in their families. So yes, that extra $2 an hour will go a long way."
Rick Del Gatto and others believe a mandatory minimum wage is a disincentive to workers.
"[Raising the minimum wage] is less of an incentive to become something," Rick Del Gatto said. "Now people who live on eight bucks will be even better off at $10 and they will have (zero) aspirations to make more, start a business or work more."
Jamie Geiger of Tarrytown sees the move as a way of getting more money into the economy while helping those who are underpaid.
"Raising the minimum wage will not cause any company to go out of business," Geiger said. "It might raise prices on goods and services, but everyone will survive.The extra money is not going into savings accounts, it will go right back into the economy."
Justin Wilson and Jamal Wallace, who were in the computer area at Dobbs Ferry Library, agreed that higher wages were important to young people.
"It's more money and it helps when you are looking for your first job," Wallace said. "I think it's expensive out there. Seven dollars an hour isn't very much in New York."
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