Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State address and executive budget proposal at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Albany, N.Y.

Associated Press

Tens of thousands of central New York employees stand to benefit if the state raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

According to a report released by the state Department of Labor, 98,689 workers in central New York will receive a raise if the state implements a $15 minimum wage. The boost in pay will lead to the reinvestment of $623.5 million in the region’s economy, the report found.

Statewide, the report says more than 2.3 million workers will benefit from a minimum wage hike and $15.7 billion will be reinvested in the economy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who included the $15 minimum wage in his 2016 agenda, said the report shows how the increase will help millions of workers across the state.

“Our proposal will lift families out of poverty and create a stronger economy for all, and I urge lawmakers to help us fight for fair pay for working families this year,” he said.

Cuomo’s plan is supported by state Assembly Democrats, but faces an uncertain fate in the Republican-led state Senate.

Under the proposal, the minimum wage for New York City workers would increase to $15 an hour over the next three years. For the rest of the state, it would be phased in over the next six years.

Business groups oppose the minimum wage hike. They say it would be costly and could lead to job losses.

Unshackle Upstate Executive Director Greg Biryla said the Department of Labor’s report “falls far short of the thorough, objective analysis that state lawmakers and the public deserves.”

Biryla added that the report doesn’t examine the impact the increase will have on businesses, particularly smaller firms and family farms.

“Rather than rush into the largest minimum wage increase in our nation’s history, we call on the administration to hire an objective, third-party to undertake a peer-reviewed economic impact analysis of what the governor has proposed,” Biryla said.

A report issued by the Empire Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank, said the state could lose more than 200,000 jobs, including 22,800 in central New York, if the minimum wage is raised to $15 an hour.

E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for Public Policy, testified at a Senate Labor Committee hearing in January. He said the minimum wage increase could hurt low-income workers — the same group advocates say will benefit from the hike.

“On a geographic basis, the negative impacts are likely to be disproportionately concentrated in upstate New York — and will be worst of all in those upstate regions already struggling to retain and create jobs,” McMahon said.

A Siena Research Institute poll released last week found nearly two-third of voters — 65 percent — support increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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