NFIB/NY Member Talks Real Impact of Minimum Wage Hike

Below are excerpts from a letter that an NFIB/NY member sent describing both the personal and real impact of the proposed hike in the minimum wage.

In regards to the minimum wage hike, please take a moment to consider how deeply this will affect my business, my employees, and my life.

The following are very real examples of very real employees and their very real lives.

What am I supposed to tell Graham, a home-schooled high school student who comes in 2 or 3 days a week to clean the office and fold package boxes? “I hope you can find a part time job that will be able to work with you schedule year-round so that you can continue to save for college and your first car.”

What do I tell Jeff, who suffers from ADD but never misses a day? Jeff, who seems content doing what he’s doing, because much more work would be too stressful? Jeff, who is living on other people’s couches. “ Jeff, I wish you well. Why don’t you go check with Social Services to see what services they have to offer.”

There is an argument that raising the minimum wage takes some of the burden off the Food Stamp program. Maybe, but consider our employee, Katrina, who is in the middle of a foreclosure and a divorce. She was told to go get a job, which she did. She is doing everything she can to keep it together for her young children. She started at minimum wage, but we quickly raised her wage to $8.00 then $8.75. She lost her Food Stamps almost as soon as she started working, leaving her worse off than before she started working. Quite frankly, $9.00 per hour (which we are going to pay anyway) isn’t enough to make a difference. What we are trying to do for is give her a place where she can have some dignity, a place with hours flexible enough to accommodate sick children or school vacations and everything she is going through as she tries to get her life back together.

The realities are that small businesses in New York State are overtaxed, overworked, and face the constant threat of more burdensome regulations and paperwork and taxes.

The fact is that moving to a lower taxed location is becoming more and more appealing.

“I love New York,” but I’m feeling that New York may be a more welcoming place to vacation than to live and work and support a family.

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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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