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ORDER OF BUSINESS: NEW MINIMUM WAGE LAW IS FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Another study released by the institute in March 2006 showed that small business and retail job growth was faster in states " such as New York " with a minimum wage above the federal level. Currently, 28 states have a minimum wage greater than that mandated by the federal government.

The report was in response to those who said the minimum wage would force businesses that largely employ low-wage workers to experience sharp cost increases resulting in reduced employment. The results of the report contradicted that argument.

But restaurant owners maintain that wage increases place a burden on their industry in a number of ways.

According to Rick Sampson, president and chief executive officer of the New York State Restaurant Association, when wage increases affect the restaurant industry's bottom line, the only solution is to raise menu prices and, ultimately, cut the hours made available to staff.

Sampson expressed objection not just to minimum wage hikes, but the beneficiaries of the increases.

"The only thing that's important to us is not only the minimum wage going up, but that the minimum wage is going to the wrong people in the industry," said Sampson.

Sampson said that giving tipped-based earners " servers and bartenders " raises, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

"Tipped employees are making 15, 18 and 20 dollars an hour in tips, and we're giving them a raise in their minimum wage?" said Sampson. "They're not working for the paychecks, they're working for the tips."

A waitress or waiter who works 40 hours a week, at the new minimum wage, would earn an additional $184 a week in addition to their tips.

Additionally, in paying more to the waitstaff and raising the amount that their minimum-wage workers already make, restaurants face another problem from the wage increases.

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