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County Legislature goes on record against raising minimum wage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2016 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to raise the minimum wage from $9 to $15 would cost New York hundreds of thousands of jobs and add to the onerous tax structure in the state, Orleans County legislators said on Wednesday.

New York just raised the minimum wage in three steps over three years from $7.25 to $9. That increase resulted in job losses in the county, the County Legislature said in a formal resolution opposing the proposed minimum wage hike.

“This proposed increase in minimum wage will also create pressure on local governments, as employers, to increase wages in order to attract workers,” legislators said.

Cuomo wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 in New York City on Dec. 31, 2018 and on July 1, 2021 for the rest of the state.

County legislators said the state’s tax cap only allows a 0.12 percent increase in taxes next year due to inflation. That is less than the 2 percent cap that was advertised by Cuomo and the State Legislature.

The wage pressure from Cuomo makes puts local government under strain to meet the tax cap. Legislators said local governments would likely be forced cut non-mandated programs for youth employment and senior citizens.

County Legislator Lynne Johnson serves on the board of directors for Orleans Community Health, parent organization for Medina Memorial Hospital. A $15 minimum wage would be a jolt to the hospital’s bottom line, she said.

“It is one more thing that could cripple our only county hospital,” she said.

Legislator Don Allport said the big jump in the minimum wage would force a lot of local businesses to close or not hire workers.

The County Legislature is sending its resolution to Cuomo and state legislators, asking the state officials to reconsider the proposal.