Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) today joined several advocacy groups including the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the New York Farm Bureau, and others to warn against the governor’s 67 percent minimum wage increase. Fitzpatrick and his Assembly Minority colleagues offered an alternative solution which would include an expansion of the already successful Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and a program to support apprenticeship for high school students and a skills-training program for those in community colleges.
“Long Island job creators, such as our small businesses, family farmers, wineries and non-profits, would be devastated by the governor’s arbitrary and highly-politicized wage increase.” said Fitzpatrick. “Studies have shown that job losses are a serious threat with such a drastic increase in the minimum wage. If the governor sincerely wants to help those who are working but struggling to make ends meet, New York should be using the programs that already exist, such as the state EITC, which his father, Mario Cuomo, introduced in New York. This way working families living from paycheck to paycheck can lift themselves out of poverty and the jobs needed in this state can be protected.”
A recent Siena College poll showed that 87 percent of New York’s businesses oppose the governor’s 67 percent increase in the minimum wage. Reports from the American Action Forum and the Empire Center for New York State Policy indicate that a minimum wage increase to $15 would cause the loss of at least 200,000 and as many as 588,800 jobs statewide. Long Island could lose between 22,000 and 70,400 jobs. The estimated cost would be $4.6 billion to businesses in the state. This would greatly exacerbate the already hostile business climate.
The Assembly Minority offered the following alternatives to assist working families and young workers:
Expansion of the EITC: The EITC, according to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), if increased would add roughly 14,000 New Yorkers to the workforce. Assembly Bill A9102 would expand the program, which has not been adjusted in 12 years, and Assembly Bill A7486 would create installment payments to help struggling families pay for monthly expenses. The maximum benefit for a single, working parent earning the current minimum wage would increase his or her hourly wage to more than $16. The program works and is already superior to the governor’s proposal.
Creation of a Learning for Work Program: Assembly Bill A8695 would create a high school-based apprenticeship program that combines academic work with on-the-job training. The bill would also create a $1,500 per apprentice credit for participating businesses. Additionally, A.8691-A would create a community college and mobility scholarship for those attending community college and participating in training programs to gain middle-skills for future jobs.