Updates in Minimum Wage and Workers’ Compensation

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Robert Golan

In a recent news report, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made a surprising proposal Thursday to raise the minimum wage for state workers to $15 on the same day when the last approval was received for the $15 minimum wage for New York State fast food employees.

Governor Cuomo commented at the announcement rally that, “If you work fulltime you shouldn’t have to choose between paying the rent and buying food.”

In response to this announcement, Gates Town Supervisor, Mark Assini retorted that this wage hike would cause the town’s budget to have to be increased to $479,131.45 if Cuomo’s proposal were to come to fruition.

He insisted that it would be detrimental to the elderly and those on fixed incomes, since the hike would result in needing to raise the property tax rate by more than 5%, thus exceeding New York’s 2% tax cap.

Cuomo explained that the wage increase should be phased in over the course of several years so that business owners would be able to account for the increase. The opposition minority leader, Brian Kolb (R, C-Canandaigua) characterized the governor’s proposal as “ludicrous and irresponsible.”

Kolb issued the state’s republican response in a press release after the conclusion of the governor’s announcement saying that: “The governor circumvented the Legislature to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers. His use of Executive Order undermined the state’s elected representatives in order to implement a politically-driven agenda that will hurt businesses and consumers. It is ludicrous – to the point of irresponsible – to suggest that New York State should raise the minimum wage by almost 70 percent. Companies operating here already face some of the nation’s worst taxes and onerous regulations. The governor is proposing a catastrophic step in the wrong direction that will cripple thousands of small businesses already struggling to succeed. As the only legislative leader in Albany who has owned and run a business, I know how difficult it is to navigate New York State’s toxic business environment. The governor’s proposal will make the environment even worse. We will not create more jobs in New York State if we make it more expensive to hire workers.”

The Rochester Business Alliance, an association of business leaders, is petitioning the governor’s office to reconsider the proposal citing that the devastating impact that a $15 minimum wage hike would have on the economy. Rochester Business Alliance President, Bob Duffy issued a press release stating that if the proposal would be successful that the Rochester Business Alliance hopes to convince the governor of the possible negative impact that such a widespread $15 an hour minimum wage hike would have on New York businesses, jobs, and consumers.

Business leaders have related that wage increases would mean job cuts and hours reductions or raise prices. Rochester Business Alliance suggests that the state could ease the impact on businesses by through tax cuts and worker’s benefits cuts.

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