NFIB Blasts Silver’s Bait and Switch on Minimum Wage

Albany (February 14, 2013) – Mike Durant, State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), New York’s leading advocate for small business owners, today issued the following statement in response to a new minimum wage proposal by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that would raise the rate to $9 per hour and attach an automatic annual increase tied to inflation:

“The current proposal which small business owners have been bracing themselves would be damaging enough.  The plan offered today by Speaker Silver would be an absolute disaster.

“Make no mistake about this: President Obama’s plan has no chance to pass the Congress.  So what Speaker Silver is proposing would put New York in a terribly uncompetitive position.  We would immediately become an outlier in the country and a place for small businesses to avoid.

“It would be especially destructive in Upstate New York, where there are thousands of small businesses hanging by a thread in a stubbornly bad economy.  And it would undermine everything that Governor Cuomo and other leaders are trying to achieve to resuscitate the Upstate economy.

“Ninety five percent of all employers pay more than the minimum wage already.  So they don’t need moral supervision from Speaker Silver or President Obama.  The five percent that pay the minimum wage are typically small businesses that can’t absorb a 24-percent increase in their labor costs.

“Small businesses have very little control over their other expenses.  They can’t reduce their rent.  They can’t reduce their utility costs.  They can’t reduce their health insurance premiums.  They can’t reduce the price of gas or the price of food.  One of the only places they can cut is labor, and that’s exactly what will happen if Speaker Silver succeeds in driving up the cost of entry-level workers.”

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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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