Heard Around Town: Business coalition to battle $15 wage

Heard Around Town: Business coalition to battle $15 wage

Heard Around Town: Business coalition to battle $15 wage
November 3, 2015

More than two dozen business groups and trade association are joining forces to offer what they say is a “reality check” on the $15 minimum wage proposal that is gaining steam in New York.

The newly formed coalition is set to announce its “Minimum Wage Reality Check” campaign Wednesday morning in response to the calls from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others for an across-the-board state wage floor of $15.

Among the 26 members are several major Albany players that have already come out against the proposal, including the Business Council of New York State and the New York Farm Bureau. The coalition also includes regional business groups, such as the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Rochester Business Alliance, whose president and CEO is former Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy. The group also includes trade associations representing restaurant owners, agricultural companies and tourism and other industries.

The coalition is officially launching the campaign in the Legislative Office Building in Albany. The group also created a Facebook page, a Twitter handle and a web site, www.minimumwagerealitycheck.com, which argues that a $15 wage is “unaffordable and unacceptable.”

“Increasing the state's minimum wage to $15 per hour – $31,200 per year for a full-time employee – will negatively impact all New Yorkers,” claims the web site, which also has links to news reports and editorials questioning the wage hike. “A $15 per hour minimum wage will put many struggling small businesses, family farms and not-for-profit service providers out of business. Others will have to reduce the number of people they employ, reduce employees' hours and put a freeze on a plans to add staff or expand operations.”

The Cuomo administration already approved a $15 wage for fast food workers, and in September the governor stood alongside Vice President Joe Biden to unveil his proposal to extend that all private-sector workers in New York.

The state’s minimum wage is currently $8.75 and is scheduled to rise to $9 at the end of this year. New York's wage is lower than in some other states, but the governor’s proposal would easily catapult New York into the lead as the state with the highest minimum wage in the country.  

Jon Lentz
is City & State’s editor-in-chief.