Some New Yorkers may soon get a raise.
State lawmakers are pushing to increase the minimum wage.
It's a change 3 years in the making, one lawmakers say is necessary to make investment in the Empire State's working families.
They're calling it a matter of dignity.
Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver and Labor Committee Chairman Keith Wright introduced a bill to raise the minimum wage Monday afternoon in the state capital.
It calls for an increase from $7.25 to $8.50 in January of 2013, a rate that will continue to rise in the years ahead.
Speaker Silver said "I think one of the most significant things that we are doing in the bill is indexing it to inflation. So that we won't be standing here fighting about whether to increase it or not."
The minimum wage in the state has only increased ten cents in the last six years.
Washington DC and 18 other states have a higher minimum wage than New York does.
Many say it's time we got up to speed.
John Bell works in the restaurant industry. He said "If you pay a person minimum wage and he's working 40 hours a week, how could he afford health insurance, food, transportation and all of that stuff? It's not fair."
Jim Verschage runs a landscaping business. He said "It will give more incentive to people who want to work harder because they're gonna make more money. It's hard to push yourself when you're not making much to begin with."
It's not only employees dealing with hard times, those who employ them could also struggle..
"For a small business like The Frog Pond, things like this could be difficult especially over time," says Eleni Gitsis Papademetriou, Co-Owner of the Park Avenue spot. She added
"Certainly we feel very strongly about having our staff be happy and we want them to be well compensated."
Gitsis Papademetriou says the restaurant is dealing with rising food prices and the challenge of drawing in customers during the cold Rochester winter.
Critics say the hike could limit entry level jobs, and take resources away from businesses that hope to invest in improvements and growth.
Gitsis Papademetriou adds if the legislation is voted into law, she hopes they will be able to succeed.
"I think we would obviously have to assume some of the costs ourselves and so we can't pass all the costs to our customers but I don't know. Our customers are understanding and understand what's going on with the economy."
Legislators expect the bill to come to a vote before the legislative session ends in June.