Tuesday, 08 March 2016 22:25

OP ED: Survey -- Layoffs If $15 Minimum Wage Passes Legislature

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Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski) today said that 64% of local business owners surveyed said they would have to cut jobs if New York adopted the $15 minimum wage mandate.

Nearly 100 local business owners completed the survey. Respondents ranged from those who employ a small staff to those who employ as many as 200 people. Out of those surveyed, 90.6% said they oppose the mandate.

Over and over again, business owners stated they’d have to increase prices, which would make them less competitive. They said the price increase would erode their customer base which would lead to more job layoffs. Others indicated they would automate where they could, cut benefits, and hire more experienced workers over those employees without experience, which would create fewer opportunities for our youth. Others noted they would close and move out of New York. Farmers who responded said they feared this would make local produce more expensive and threaten jobs in agriculture.

“My deepest worries were confirmed when I read through the survey responses. The $15 minimum wage mandate would kill jobs and small businesses, make our state less competitive, and increase costs for consumers. It has real potential to increase poverty,” said Barclay. "This is the complete, wrong direction of trying to help people in New York state and improve the economy. This is just one more mandate that business owners would have to fight against to try and be successful in New York."

The survey featured yes or no questions but also a place for business owners to write their thoughts. Many took the time to write and share their concerns. Here are a few quotes from the survey.

“New York State cannot afford to put more people out of work via increase in minimum wage. We need more industry and large companies to help our state grow. Increasing the minimum wage will force small businesses to cut staff and thus decrease jobs”

Another wrote: “We would like to see programs that retain and encourage growth in NY businesses. Wage increases will not accomplish this.”

A shop owner wrote: “I believe that the increase would result in more automation in big box stores and a reduction in customer service across the board. I also suspect that it will lead to business closings in New York...and more unemployment.”

Barclay said he was pleased there were so many responses and thanked those who responded.

“I am pleased to have this valuable feedback, so I can share these viewpoints with my colleagues in Albany. These responses are further evidence that a $15 minimum wage mandate would hurt our region and cause us to lose jobs,” said Barclay.

Barclay noted that the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) is hosting its annual SMALL BUSINESS DAY in Albany today, where thousands of small businesses are lobbying to oppose the governor’s $15 minimum wage mandate. Barclay said that it’s a good sign to see legislators and the business community joining together to push back on this mandate, since small businesses make up 98 percent of employers in New York State and a little over 50 percent of employees in New York State work for a small business.

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