Letter: Reject proposal to boost minimum wage
Author: Rebekah Paxton
Publication Date: March 2023
Newspaper: Albany Times-Union
New York Assembly and Senate lawmakers claim workers need immediate relief from inflation yet their new budget plans open the door for bills that could hurt the people they’re supposed to help. The article “Senate plan would boost wages,” March 15, notes that Sen. Jessica Ramos from Queens and Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner in the Bronx back legislation that would make New York the first state to reach a $20-an-hour statewide minimum wage and enact a higher rate of $21.25 per hour in New York City.
The article cited some reasons to oppose the bill — a weaker economy and a boost in prices — but didn’t mention perhaps the most glaring: Unemployment and closed businesses.
The state Legislature has already increased the minimum wage by more than double the rate of inflation. Moving forward with these proposed increases would grow wages by another 40 percent. That’s before enacting unlimited, perpetual future increases as proposals being considered would chain wage levels to inflation trends, which are volatile. The past several years demonstrated this as the unforeseen global pandemic sent inflation soaring to four-decade highs.
Increasing the minimum wage would leave employers forced to adapt to yet another massive, unprecedented spike, likely by eliminating jobs. Much of three decades of economic research shows that as minimum wages rise, jobs are lost.
If the Legislature moves ahead, there would be no cap on how much inflation can raise the minimum wage in a given year — a move that could ultimately cost businesses their survival and put employees out of work.