ALBANY — For the Scavio family, the owners of Paesan’s Pizza in the Capital Region, it’s impossible to absorb a $15 an hour minimum wage increase.

“There’s no way any small company, especially in the food industry, can pay people $15 an hour. The money is just not there,” said Lorenzo Scavio.

The current minimum wage is $8.75 per hour. The family said they’re already bracing for the impact of a $15 an hour fast food worker wage increase that will be phased in over the next several years. They say the governor’s proposal for an across the board $15 minimum wage could hurt even more.

“Five years ago we were expanding. Today, we’re going the opposite way,” Vincent Scavio said.

The Empire Center, a local think-tank said Paesan’s is the kind of business the governor’s proposal would hurt the most.

“Who is going to be left standing among law income employers if you do this. Let me tell you what the answer is. It’s Walmart. It’s McDonald’s. It’s the chain companies,” said Empire Center President E.J. McMahon.

The organization along with American Action Forum released a new study that looked at the impact of a minimum wage hike. They estimate the state would lose between 200,000 to 500,000 jobs. In addition, the organization said the massive wage increase would mostly impact the low income people it was supposed to help.

“The point of our findings is that it’s not good for poor workers, that in fact it’s going to fairly, significantly reduce job opportunities,” said McMahon.

Those in favor of a wage increase said this study doesn’t make any sense. They said small businesses may need some help in the transition, but the economy will not fall apart.

“There’s equally amount of studies that say the opposite, more than that,” said Mark Emanatian from Citizen Action. “Everytime the minimum wage has been raise, both federally when the minimum wage was established in the 1930’s, and here in NYS in the 1970’s, they’ve said the exact same thing. The sky will fall, the economy will completely fall apart and jobs will be lost. It’s not the truth.

© 2015 WNYT

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.