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Letter: Raising minimum wage will help reduce poverty

Raising minimum wage will help reduce poverty

Raising the minimum wage will help 2.3 million working people statewide, including over 100,000 Western New York families. This region has one of the highest rates of children living in poverty conditions. Raising the minimum wage will go far to reduce that number.

Furthermore, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal will phase in the increase over a number of years, so there will be plenty of time for businesses to plan and adjust.

Increasing the wage will allow people to spend more money in our local community. Many Western New York families struggle to create a life while working a minimum-wage job, including my family and friends. For them, working a $9-an-hour job is a daily struggle, having to decide between basic needs and other financial obligations. Raising the wage will make it possible for them to pay for the essential basic costs of living.

My friend works full time earning $360 per week. After taxes and rent, she is left with about $97 for the week; $25 of that is spent commuting to and from work using public transportation. This doesn’t leave much for child care and other expenses. Raising the minimum wage will improve life experiences for her and her children.

Emmanuel I. White