Cuomo's Minimum Wage Mirage

The centerpiece of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legislative agenda for 2016 is his proposal to increase the minimum wage in New York to $15 per hour. While NYCF empathizes with our neighbors who struggle to support their families due to low wages, we oppose the Governor’s proposal. NYCF believes that a $15-per-hour minimum wage would hurt low and moderate-income New Yorkers more than it would help them.

How would Gov. Cuomo’s minimum wage proposal affect a worker currently earning less than $15 per hour? It depends on the situation. If that worker continues to work the same number of hours following the minimum wage increase as she did before, that worker will make significantly more money. However, if that worker’s employer responds to the minimum wage increase by closing, downsizing, cutting employee work hours, or moving out of state, that worker will actually be harmed by the minimum wage increase. According to the Empire Center for Public Policy, the Governor’s minimum wage proposal would likely result in the loss of at least 200,000 jobs in New York.

For unemployed workers, the outlook under Gov. Cuomo’s proposal would be sobering. Workers seeking entry-level jobs are likely to find it extraordinarily difficult to find employers that will to pay $15 per hour for unskilled labor. A $9-per-hour job is better than no job at all.

NYCF supports proposals that promote freedom and opportunity in our state; a $15-per-hour minimum wage would do the opposite.