KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) - New York's newly passed budget includes a higher minimum wage and tax credits to help cover what employers spend on it.
Minimum wage in New York State is rising gradually over the next three years, eventually capping at $9 an hour in 2016. The state is offering tax credits to business owners who hire teenagers, to fill their minimum wage positions.
But the credits are only available for workers from 16- to 19-years-old, who are still in school, and are hired as seasonal help.
Bob Bolt, owner of Mike's Subs in Kenmore, said, "I can't take advantage of the tax credit, because I don't hire seasonal employees. I'm open year-round."
Some people worry business owners will react to the tax credits by simply not hiring adults.
Bolt says raising minimum wage probably will change his hiring practices in the exact opposite way.
"We might take a lower-tiered employee, who isn't quite as skilled, and we say 'Nine bucks an hour?' Maybe we let that person go, and we try to get somebody a little better for $9 an hour. So it could cut out some lower-skilled people," Bolt said.
Just Pizza General Manager Joe Luzio said, "Usually, when you come out of or you're in high school, you have no experience. And for a restaurant that is as busy as we are to hire people without experience and start them off at such a high rate, might be a little tricky."
That extra money, though, has to come from somewhere.
Bolt acknowledged, "I'm going to have to raise prices. The price of an average sub is going to go up 20, 30 cents. And that's going to impact every customer that walks in."
New York's minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. The increases will be phased in over a three-year period, rising to $8 in 2014, $8.75 in 2015 and $9 in 2016.
"The fact that it's a gradual increase is helpful. That means I don't have to put up my prices super fast. I can phase my prices up a little bit, and the shock won't be so bad. Because I don't want to lose business," Bolt said.
"It's bad enough when food costs go up dramatically in Buffalo, like they do seasonally [and] sometimes the customer has to pay for it. We'll absorb that cost," Just Pizza's Luzio said, "maybe myself and a couple of the people that've been here longer will pick up some of the hours and pick up the slack."
Luzio and Bolt agree, it's right to pay workers, particularly students, a decent wage.
"It's more money in the economy, it's more money for the younger kids coming up that need work... It's money they need to get by," Luzio said.
But Bolt, especially, questions the wisdom of the state dictating the rate.
Bolt said, "I'd rather see the free enterprise system regulate minimum wage."
Taxpayers will pay a share toward minimum wage increase. Once it reaches $9 an hour, for example, one estimate has employers would pay 40 cents of the difference, and taxpayers the remaining $1.35.
Buffalo Police have arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Finnegan of South Buffalo and charged him with pushing Russ Ross to his death.
Buffalo police homicide detectives are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred early Saturday morning.
Police say there were 32 burglaries, 20 in Albion, five in Medina, four in Oakfield and three in the City of Lockport.
The Niagara County Sheriff's responded to Saunders Settlement Road near Comstock in Cambria Friday night after receiving a tip about a suspected meth lab.
Call 4 Action looked into claims this week that members of BJ's Wholesale Club were paying too much on sales tax on some deeply discounted items.
State Police in Pennsylvania are investigating an alleged pedophile pastor already facing charges in Western New York.