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Lawmakers disagree on impact of minimum wage increase

There's significant disagreement over the economic impact of the just-approved increase in the state minimum wage. As part of the new state budget, New York's minimum wage will rise to $15 in New York City and at least $12.50-an-hour upstate over the course of several years.

State Senator Marc Panepinto

Farmers say they'll be hurt by having to pay higher wages. State Assemblyman Ray Walter, an Amherst Republican, agrees. Walter says there will be job losses.

"We're going to put our farmers out of business," Walter said. "We're going to hurt workers. Our working class and low-skilled laborers are going to be devastated by this massive increase in the minimum wage."

But Democratic State Senator Marc Panepinto dismisses such a negative assessment of the higher wage.

"There is not going to be a negative impact on farm profits," Panepinto told WBFO News. "The upstate minimum wage will go up 70-cents-a-year over the next five years. At the end of that period, they'll be paying $12.50-an-hour, which is only 14-cents more than what farmers are paying now based on their own statistics."

Panepinto also praised an expansion of paid family leave that was approved by legislators. He says this could very well be the best state budget ever.