Raising All New Yorkers Up

The Assembly Minority Conference was joined by representatives from the business community, farming industry and non-profit organizations to offer common-sense alternatives to the governor’s proposed minimum wage spike to $15 per hour.

In his press release on the subject, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb emphasized the need to consider conference proposals to help New Yorkers and be mindful of the needs of small businesses, non-profits, and other job creators,

“If we really want to help low-income New Yorkers, we need alternatives that do not decimate job creators and send businesses to other states,” Leader Kolb said. “It defies logic to impose another crushing mandate on small businesses, non-profits, school districts and health care providers already struggling to stay afloat in an abysmal tax and economic climate. A drastic and unwarranted minimum wage hike will do more harm than good to low-income earners, who may find themselves out of a job.”

Patrick Pipino, the franchise owner of a local Ben & Jerry’s, addressed the media as part of our press conference as well.

His full remarks can be found here.

We were also joined by Mike Durant of the National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB) in New York.

His full remarks can be found here.

He would add in a statement,

“As the volume increases on the issue of minimum wage increases, it is important for lawmakers to understand that small-business owners are a large part of the struggling middle class,” said Mike Durant, State Director of NFIB. “Providing sensible alternatives to wage increases will help New York address its growing skills gap and provide employers with the workers they are actively seeking. Arbitrarily increasing labor costs on small employers will continue the hiring freeze and further push low-income New Yorkers away from good paying jobs.”

Greg Biryla of Unshackle Upstate addressed the media at the press conference as well.

He would add in a statement:

“Unshackle Upstate is grateful to the Assembly Minority Conference for taking a strong stand against this devastating minimum wage proposal. When you look at the impacts of this 67 percent minimum wage hike — at least 200,000 lost jobs, large tax increases and higher prices for consumers — it should be crystal clear that this increase will do far more harm than good,” said Greg Biryla, Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate. “Upstate New York, which relies on the small businesses and family farms, will be especially hard hit. Our organization, in partnership with 51 other groups that support the Minimum Wage Reality Check campaign, is committed to protecting Upstate jobs and overburdened taxpayers.”

Ken Poklasky of The Business Council joined our press conference as well.

His full remarks:

Poklasky would add in a statement:

“We are proud to stand here today with the Assembly Minority and our colleagues in the business and employer community to once again reiterate our objections to the proposed $15 an hour minimum wage,” said Kenneth J. Pokalsky, Vice President of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “As the analysis referenced here today states, the proposed increase would most negatively impact the very people advocates claim to be trying to help. The Assembly Minority and Leader Kolb are right to be supporting an expansion of the EITC, which is widely seen as an effective and efficient policy for supporting low-income working families.”

Steve Ammerman of the New York Farm Bureau joined the press conference as well.

His full remarks:

Jeff Williams, also of the Farm Bureau added a statement in the official release:

“A $15 minimum wage is bad for New York agriculture. Our farmers cannot expect to compete when their labor costs are drastically higher than those for farmers from surrounding states. If they can’t recoup those losses, the alternatives will be layoffs, automation or closing the barn doors for good,” said Jeff Williams, New York Farm Bureau Public Policy Director.

Peter Guidarelli of the Warren, Washington, and Albany NYSARC spoke as well on the dangers this policy poses to non-profits.

Mr. Guidarelli’s remarks here:

He would add in a statement:

“Our staff does not understand why fast food workers are being given $15 an hour while people who care for the lives of people with disabilities are funded by the state and federal government through Medicaid, and only get $10-$11 an hour to care for another human being. We believe everyone deserves a commensurate wage for the job they perform, but if people have the choice to work a cash register for $15 an hour or feed, change, bathe a person and have the life of child with a disability in their hands, sadly people will chose the easier job. We already have staffing shortages and this is creating a caregiving crisis for our most vulnerable, whom government is obligated to protect and they should be prioritized.”

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb sponsors legislation expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit as an alternative to the minimum wage increase.

A.9102 would expand the EITC, which would directly help those New Yorkers who are living paycheck to paycheck. A 2008 report commissioned by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) states:

  • An expansion of the EITC to 45 percent of the federal credit “is estimated to increase employment by between 7,125 and 21,363 single mothers;” and
  • An EITC increase would introduce more than 14,000 individuals into the workforce.

Assemblyman Andy Goodell addressed the media in support of his Earned Income Tax Credit (A.7486) legislation as well.

The legislation would allow the tax credit to be distributed in installment payments to help with monthly expenses.

Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci offered his legislation, A.8691 and 8695, the Learning for Work Program, as alternatives as well.

  • Instituting a new youth apprenticeship program (the Learning for Work Program) that would create a one- or two-year program in high school that combines academic classroom coursework with mentored on-the-job training, and provides a $1,500 per apprentice tax credit for participating businesses (A.8695 Lupinacci); and
  • Creating a new community college merit and mobility scholarship that would encourage students to attend community college and get the training necessary to fill the middle-skill jobs of the future (A.8691-A, Lupinacci).

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