Mary Frost | April 14, 2015
Raising the minimum wage in New York City to $15 per hour would not only improve the lives of workers but would also benefit the city economically, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said at a Tuesday press conference with low-wage workers outside a McDonalds in Downtown Brooklyn.
According to an analysis released by his office, a $15 minimum wage, phased in over the next five years, would boost consumer spending, lessen the burden on the city’s social services programs and benefit students.
“New York is the greatest city in the world, but when you factor in cost-of-living, it’s the most expensive city in the country,” he told the crowd gathered on Fulton Street.
Even with full-time jobs, millions of residents are unable to pay for basic necessities, and the city has to lay out money to help support them.
As comptroller, “I gotta look at the bottom line,” Stringer said. “Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would boost wages by $10 billion a year and change the way we look at workers’ rights across the U.S. It’s not just a social justice issue, it’s an economic imperative for the city.”
Stringer said that when other cities, like Seattle, raised their minimum wage, the local economy benefitted.
Elizabeth Owens, a community organizer for Vocal New York, said she used to hold down night jobs at McDonalds and Burger King while living in a homeless shelter. But earning only $8 an hour, she couldn’t afford to put down a security deposit and first month’s rent on her own apartment.Owens told the Brooklyn Eagle that the shelter charged her $215 a month rent, plus she had to pay for “subway, food and everything else.”