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What Does the $15 Minimum Wage Increase Mean for local businesses?

By Emily Girsch.
Governor Cuomo repeated his $15 minimum wage proposal to lawmakers in his State of the State address on Wednesday.

Tipped staff already saw a jump 50 percent pay hike on December 31, 2015.

Restaurant owners say the forced wage increases will hurt their business and force them to reduce staff.

One server says the wage increase will discourage diners from tipping.

"I think that initially people would think it would be a good thing but if our customers know that our minimum wage has gone up that much they probably wouldn't think they have to tip us as much anymore," said Tiffany Rezucha, a server at McGirk's Irish Pub in Chenango Bridge.

"And then if that accumulates you might end up with half of what you typically bring home."

A restaurant owner told Fox 40 he has to use less people to do the same amount of work.

"On a busy night instead of having 5 servers on the floor I only have 3. Instead of having 2 bartenders I only have 1. If I have a floor manager, that manager is the bartender and manager both," said Tim Ward, owner at Mcgirk's Irish Pub.

"I have to try and absorb this cost somehow because a 50 percent increase in pay? No business can survive that."

Another restaurant owner said the prices of meals are going to go up.

"You have to charge more. It's that simple," said Jim McCoy, owner of the Number 5 Restaurant in Binghamton.

"And how the public reacts to it is going to determine how many restaurants survive in this market."

The plan phases-in hourly wage hikes every year, ultimately reaching $15 hour in 2021. New York City would see the increase in 2018.