New York continues to shed businesses, residents and jobs at an alarming rate, yet the governor and Assembly Majority have insisted on forcing another job-killing minimum wage hike. The state’s minimum wage just increased to $9 per hour on Dec. 31, 2015, but there are some who are ready to take that number much higher.
A proposed $15 per hour wage will hurt precisely those workers it is meant to help. A recent report from the American Action Forum and the Empire Center for New York State Policy noted that increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour would cost the state at least 200,000 and as many as 588,800 jobs. The report also predicted such an increase would cost New York businesses $4.6 billion.
OFFERING ALTERNATIVES TO A WAGE HIKE
We need to be creative and deliver financial assistance through initiatives that won’t result in massive job losses. The cost of living in New York State is outrageously high. For too long, Albany’s policies have created a climate where hard-earned dollars don’t go nearly as far as they should. Low-wage workers feel those effects every day.
This year, I will support and introduce measures such as:
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Expansion - Expand the New York State value of the EITC from 30 percent to 45 percent of the federal amount.
- EITC Monthly Installments - Allow individuals eligible for the EITC to receive their credit as monthly installments (A.7486, Goodell).
- Eliminating Personal Income Tax (PIT) Lower Brackets - Eliminate the PIT for married filers with an income below $40,000, head of household filers with an income below $30,000, and single filers with an income below $20,000.
- Training Wage - Establish a training wage lower than the state minimum wage for youths with no prior job experience (A.4384, Kolb).
- Tax Free Self-Care and Household Products - Exempt all self-care and household products from being subject to state sales tax.
NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT
Although the 2016 session is young, we must not wait to begin making meaningful reforms. There is much work to do; small businesses still need relief, ethics must be addressed, and alternatives to the $15 per hour minimum wage hike on the table must be passed.
An unprecedented 67 percent wage mandate will undermine any notion that New York is “open for business.” The Legislature is the most effective when it captures the will of those it represents and acts with common sense, dignity and diligence. I will continue to fight to ensure the Legislature is a body that solves problems, rather than creating them.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.