$15 Minimum Wage Hike Already Wreaking Havoc on NYC Businesses

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It’s been scarcely six months since the new $15 an hour minimum wage law went into effect in New York City, but it has already taken a dreadful toll on small business owners inside the city. Among other things, owners have had no choice but to cut staff, slash work shifts, and raise prices to make up for the new economic demands forced upon them by an eager liberal constituency.

None of this should come as any surprise; the warning signs were there, posted by both economists and real-world examples across the country. But when facts get in the way of the liberal, feel-good agenda, the facts rarely win. Only in the end do they rear their ugly, truth-filled heads. And by then, Democrats have had enough time to make excuses for their failure.

From the Wall St. Journal:

Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books, employs 75 people at four shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Ms. McNally said she hasn’t cut hours or reduced the number of people she employs to mitigate the increase, but she is working to open two more shops and scale her workload to stay profitable.

While Ms. McNally said she always has paid her employees at least $5 above minimum wage, January’s increase tightened that gap. “With raising minimum wage to living wage, it feels now like we’re at the bottom of the pay spectrum,” she said. “There’s absolutely no benefit to being a retail business in New York.”

Thomas Grech, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said he has seen an uptick in small-business closures during the past six to nine months, and he attributed it to the minimum-wage legislation.

“They’re cutting their staff. They’re cutting their hours. They’re shutting down,” he said. “It’s not just the rent.”

According to the Journal, New York liberals are already pressuring the city to come up with tax incentives that will essentially pay for business owners to keep up with the rising minimum wages. It is not mentioned in the article that this amounts to no more than welfare – the taxpayers coughing up money so that low-income workers can make more. Perhaps it’s more noble to funnel this assistance through a wage scheme, but it’s still nothing more than wealth redistribution.

New York City is one of the greatest cities on the planet – a true monument to the power of free market capitalism. It’s a shame that we now see city leaders (and, no doubt, voters) so removed from those building blocks that they’ve come to loathe the very girl that brought them to the dance. Maybe sanity and facts will win out in the end.

But there might be a whole lot of suffering before that happens.