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Hawley says raising minimum wage will kill jobs

Staff Reports Posted 7 May 2015 at 12:00 am

ALBANY The state Assembly on Monday passed a bill that would allow for a higher state minimum wage in New York City and nearby counties.

The legislation, which faces opposition in the Senate, seeks to phase in a minimum wage that would reach $15 an hour by the end of 2018 in the city and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) said the legislation is misguided and does not improve the already suffocating business climate that New York has perpetuated in past years. The 2015-16 State Budget provides no tax or regulatory relief for small businesses or the middle class.

Hawley issued this statement:

“As the owner of small businesses for over four decades, I know the struggles of operating in New York’s tax and fine environment,” Hawley said. “I voted against a minimum wage increase because when businesses are legally obligated to pay their employees more, they are therefore able to hire less employees and therefore create less jobs. A more viable option to help taxpayers would be a widespread middle class tax cut, something the Assembly Majority again failed to include in this year’s budget. My district is heavily agriculturally based and a minimum wage hike would jeopardize the ability of farming operations to hire additional employees, especially on an hourly basis. I will continue to support my district’s business interests and alternatives exist that would address the root problem of high taxes and regulations that is hindering our middle class and business community.

“Furthermore, this bill raises the minimum wage to a much higher rate in New York, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau Counties than the rest of New York State. This is another piece of evidence highlighting the growing disparity between upstate and downstate and why we should allow the public to decide if they would support a division of New York into two separate states by passing my legislation, Assembly Bill 4167. New Yorkers deserve this choice now more than ever considering downstate interests dominate our legislature while the social and economic concerns of millions of upstate New Yorkers are ignored.”

Hawley is the owner of an insurance agency based in Batavia and the former owner/operator of Hawley Farms.