BUFFALO, N.Y. — Inflation has been raising the prices of just about everything except salaries.
On Friday, 50 small businesses in Buffalo advocated for raising the minimum wage, but they're part of more than 300 across the state making the request.
They want Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature to raise it before the state budget finally gets approved.
If approved, Gov. Hochul's state budget proposal would raise the minimum wage to $15 this year, and each year after to keep up with inflation.
Right now, minimum wage in Western New York is $14.20. Those businesses want the governor to instead raise the wage as much as a proposed Raise the Wage Act would.
It's a bill currently sitting in the state senate. The bill proposes raising the minimum wage over the next four years, so that by 2027, it is up to $21.25.
Small business owners who already pay their employees above minimum wage say it's both a benefit to the employee as well as the business.
"Our employee turnover is very low, so we save money and time by not having to train new people, and our employees get to know our customers," said Aaron Bartley, owner of Fitz Books and Waffles.
"When workers earn more, our customers have more spending money, and local businesses like mine do better. Minimum wage increases go back into the communities and the economy."
Governor Hochul's office 2 On Your Side this statement:
"Governor Hochul's budget makes transformative investments to make New York more affordable, more livable and safer, and she continues to work with the legislature to deliver a final budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers."
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, as of last year, there were 2.3 million small businesses in New York State and they employ 4.1 million employees.