A $15 minimum wage is bad economic policy

Brian McMahon, executive director of the New York State Economic Development Council, is correct that all sectors of the state’s economy would suffer from a $15 minimum wage. But mounting evidence suggests the pain would be most acute for restaurants. (“$15 minimum wage would be a retreat from prosperity,” Feb. 3 News.)

On Dec. 31, 2015, the state instituted a $2.50 an hour increase to the wages of tipped staff. After only one month of this policy, Longway’s Diner in upstate New York had to cut its overnight shift, McGirk’s Irish Pub in Chenango Bridge is operating with a skeleton crew and Pizzetteria Brunetti in Manhattan’s West Village is slashing hours and putting an end to overtime.

The evidence on the harm caused by dramatic wage hikes is not just anecdotal. The University of New Hampshire Survey Center conducted a survey of economists in regard to their opinions on a $15 minimum wage, and found that nearly three-quarters opposed a broad $15 mandate.

Supporting $15 might be good politics for the governor, but it’s terrible economic policy for the state.