Minimum Wage – The “Albany Dance” Begins

With comments offered yesterday, Governor Cuomo has reaffirmed his “conceptual” support for a hike in New York’s minimum wage and so the “Albany Dance” of negotiations presumably begins.  Throughout this debate, NFIB has remained committed to our members and the needs of New York’s small businesses and will remain so.

Some have recently argued that raising the minimum wage is imperative for ethical or moral reasons.  I find that fascinating considering holding employers to strict liability standards, such as the scaffold law does or painting all employers as blatant law breakers like the Wage Theft Prevention Act has, has not been rightfully characterized as morally inept.

If a hike in wages ultimately is linked to tax credits for hiring, shouldn’t lawmakers first consider why small businesses are not hiring in the first place?  New York’s business owners have been clamoring for serious reform to our unemployment insurance and workers compensation laws for years.  These and other stifling costs are the barriers to serious and significant job creation in this state.

I continue to be buoyed by the resolve of Senate Majority Leader Skelos as he continues to resist this effort, and remain optimistic that he and his conference will stay the course.  While the Governor’s comments do not put the full force of his pulpit behind an increase, he does indicate that he is listening and considering it.  My hope is that he will consider this:

Mandating a wage hike without dealing with these issues will cement New York’s standing at the bottom in business costs, job creation and continue our dubious place as the nations most anti-business state.

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About Mike Durant

Mike Durant was named New York State Director of NFIB in May 2011. Prior to joining NFIB as the Assistant State Director in May 2010, Durant began his career in the New York Senate working in the Office of Member Services. From there, he served in a number of positions during former New York Governor George E. Pataki’s administration. As a Research Specialist in the New York State Office of Demographic Policy, Mike was responsible for drafting a redistricting proposal for Governor Pataki. In addition, Mike served as a Research Specialist for the Empire State Development Corporation, as well as the Associate Commissioner of Human Resource Management with the New York Department of Labor. Durant also spent four years working at the Questar III BOCES as a specialist focusing on the complex formulas that drive aid to school districts across the state while also taking a lead role in the state legislative/budget process as it related to education policy. These past positions have given Mike a deep understanding of the complex political economics of the State of New York. Active in the community, Durant has served on a number of boards in both the village of Ballston Spa and Town of Milton. Durant received his bachelor’s degree from Siena College in Loudonville, New York and resides in Ballston Spa with his wife and two children.
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