Assembly Republicans joined Wednesday with farm advocates and social-service providers to oppose Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s call for a $15 per hour minimum wage, saying the state should instead increase tax credits for the working poor.
The legislators said some businesses and organizations won’t be able to “stay afloat” if the hike is implemented.
Republicans said it would be better to increase the “earned income tax credit,” which benefits families who earn below the poverty line than to force businesses to pay more. The “EITC” can offset all of the tax burden for some wage earners, allowing them to pay no or very little income taxes.
“So instead of raising the wage of a college student of a wealthy family, we should raise the incomes of those who really need it,” said Assemb. Andy Goodell (R-Jamestown). “It’s a better alternative for New York and it helps everyone – employers, the working poor and the taxpayers.”
Others warned that such a dramatic hike could trigger businesses to lay off employees.
“A drastic and unwarranted minimum wage hike will do more harm than good to low-income workers who may find themselves out of a job,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) added.
A day earlier, Cuomo, a Democrat, held another in a series of rallies to campaign for the wage hike. The governor, who has said he wants the state to be the first to go to $15 per hour, said New York “will show the nation the way.”
Lawmakers hiked New York’s minimum wage in 2013; as a result, it hit $9 per hour in January. In 2015, Cuomo proposed increasing it to $10.50 per hour outside of New York City, before pushing for an even higher amount this year.
Last year, Cuomo bypassed the Legislature and used his Labor Department to mandate a $15 per hour wage for fast-food employees.