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Upstate NY Residents Could Take The Brunt Of Cuomo’s Wage Crusade

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A New York Republican Party leader argued in an opinion piece Monday that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sacrificing the economic well-being of upstate residents for his minimum wage crusade.

Cuomo has put the $15 minimum wage at the forefront of his agenda, and announced a proposal in September designed to phase in the policy statewide. He has also given numerous speeches on the plan and embarked on a campaign-style road trip to push it.  Onondaga County Republican Committee Chairman Thomas Dadey, Jr., however, argues it will hurt upstate residents.

“While Upstate burns, Cuomo wants a $15 an hour minimum wage and a costly new paid family leave mandate,” Dadey wrote in an opinion piece published by Syracuse Media Group. “Cuomo may think this helps him politically in Washington, D.C., but Upstate New York is going to pay a very heavy price if those policies are enacted this year.”

Multiple factors make the the outcome of raising the minimum wage unpredictable. For instance, regions like upstate New York  have a lower cost of living, and therefore may have more trouble overcoming the increase.

“We need a governor willing to roll up his sleeves and do everything possible to revitalize our economy,” Dadey continued. “We need more jobs and lower taxes and better opportunities so our young people can stay and raise their families here. If Cuomo can’t or won’t be that governor, he should step aside.”

Cuomo and supporters have argued the $15 minimum wage could do a lot to address poverty. The opposition warns it may actually hurt the poor by forcing businesses to cutback on their workforce to overcome the added cost of labor. Cuomo has proposed and implemented a number of tax cuts to help relieve costs for small businesses in the state.

“Rather than throwing state subsidies at some companies to get them to stay in New York, the governor and state Legislature should get to work putting together a real long-term economic development strategy,” Dadey stated in the piece. “A massive increase in the state’s minimum wage will further hinder our efforts to improve the economy and set this region back decades”

Cuomo has faced significant opposition and his proposal will have to pass the Republican-controlled state Senate. Nevertheless, he has found ways to unilaterally and partially enact the policy by utilizing his executive authority to raise wages for fast-food workers, state university workers and state employees.

“A $15 minimum wage will cripple small businesses, make it even more difficult to find a job and extinguish the last embers of hope that exist in Upstate New York,” Dadey concluded. “The governor must be stopped.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has found both positive and negative results when it investigated minimum wage increases in the past. Research found any increase of the minimum wage will likely result in at least some job loss — the higher the increase, the more impact it will have on employment.

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