Elmira, N.Y. (WENY) - Minimum wage workers in upstate New York have seen their pay increase 70 cents, up to $10.40 an hour.
While it benefits workers, the increase has forced the hand of some local businesses. Adam Bunce, owner of the Turtle Leaf Cafe in Elmira, says "We've been preparing for it all along and really as a restaurant, especially as a small business, a locally owned restaurant, all we can do is raise our prices. I can't cut staff. If I cut staff it affects the quality of the product."
Bunce says while some customers don't mind, that is not always the case. He says, "Most of them understand, I mean some of them don't and you know you're going to have that but it's really out of our control and it's what the state is forcing local business to do."
Bunce wants to make clear that he is still pleased for the workers seeing an increase. He says, "Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see the employees get the raise, I'm not trying to look at it from one angle. I do look at it from all sides and I think the people do deserve a raise I just think the state has gone about it irresponsibly."
Bunce thinks the increase could have been spread out over a longer period of time. He says, "If you look at the last 17 or 18 years roughly it's gone up about 40%, and over the next 4 years it is going to go up another 40%. So if we have gone 40% in 18 years, going another 40 in just four years, it doesn't really seem like that was spread out very equally and it probably could have been handled way back when much more responsibly."