A Siena College poll released last week showed general statewide support (59% – 39%) for Gov. Cuomo’s proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, but also showed that a slight majority of Upstate voters do not support the proposal.
We are very concerned about the possible adverse consequence of increasing the minimum wage to over $30,000 per year, particularly about higher costs for goods and services and the possibility that lower wage and entry-level jobs will disappear. So far in this discussion, no one has taken a hard look at how such an increase would impact employers, especially small businesses and farmers.
The bottom line is that Albany shouldn’t be adding new stresses to the Upstate economy via new wage mandates. While $15 per hour might work in New York City, it could do a great deal of harm Upstate, where salaries are (on the whole) much lower. We think that once the public understands that there is “no such thing as a free lunch,” the results of these polls will change.
We also think that the state has an obligation to conduct serious, peer-reviewed studies regarding the economic impact of a $15 minimum wage. It would be nice if lawmakers could hear both sides of the story before they have a bill put before them to vote on.