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Proposal to eliminate tipped wages draws criticism

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) - A new proposal would raise restaurant workers’ wages, but most say it could do more harm than good.

Llona Hogan has tried it all. She’s been a teacher and part of corporate America. But her heart has always been in one place.

“It’s kind of magical here,” she said.

Hattie’s Chicken in Saratoga.

“I really loved the thought of helping to make a small business thrive,” Hogan said.

She’s been a server at Hattie’s for over 10 years and receiving tips is how she makes a living.

“This is where I choose to spend my time, to make my money, to help support my family,” she said.

But she’s nervous about possible changes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed to end the tip credit and require employers to pay tipped workers minimum wage.

It might seem like more money for the workers, but Hogan said that's not how it would work out.

“If people were to lose this it would be devastating to a lot of families,” she said.

Workers could still be tipped, but Hogan said the incentive for customers to do so would go down.

“We think it’s a bad idea,” Tony Stellato said.

Stellato and his wife, Jerilyn, agree.

“People will still feel the pressure to tip and everything will just get more expensive,” he said.

And those raised costs could become too much.

“Businesses like Hattie’s, the small mom and pop restaurants, will not be able to survive,” Hogan said.

David Lau offered a unique perspective. He’s from Dublin, Ireland where they don’t use a tip system. He said it works there.

“Everything is set in their own ways,” he said. “They’re making a certain amount every night, so they know what they’re going to make.”

There are currently seven states that don’t use a tip credit.


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