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State To See Hike In Minimum Wage

New York's minimum wage will go up on December 31st and workers are looking forward to more money in their paychecks.
New York's minimum wage will go up on December 31st and workers are looking forward to more money in their paychecks. 

Lisa Armstrong, 55, has been working at the McCall Mini Mart in Greece since May. She prepares food, shovels sidewalks, and helps customers for about 30 hours per week. This is her paycheck.

"At the bottom line it's $161 for 27 hours," she said.

Lisa says she cannot afford an apartment and her paycheck barely covers living expenses. 

"Basically I pay the bills, I pay my car insurance. We cut back on what we're eating; obviously the healthy foods are the more expensive unfortunately, so we do a lot of microwave meals," she said.

Lisa is one of thousands of workers in Rochester that will get a raise Tuesday when the state minimum wage goes up to $8. 

"It's going to be huge for me. It's going to be huge and I am working more hours, so any little bit helps at this point," she said.

Advocates say pay hike is a step in the right direction, but they would like to see minimum wage tied to the cost of living. Tim Mason is the president of the Small Business Council of Rochester. 

"Part of paying people minimum wage or that lower cost is for training ground. It's for younger people who are coming into the workforce learning new jobs and all of that; and the concern would be at $10 or $11, does that become prohibitive to actually have people enter the workforce at that level," he said.

Mason says further increases could result in higher prices for consumers. Lisa says she just wants to make enough to pay the bills.

"You're going to end up living with another family member because you can't support yourself on $8 an hour or $7.25 an hour or $10 an hour; you just don't make enough money to pay the bills," she said.
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