O’Mara, Palmesano And Borrello Ask Cuomo To Hold Off On Minimum Wage Increase

December 9, 2020

From Local Upstate GOP Lawmakers:

Senator Tom O’Mara, Senator George Borrello joined New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and members of the Senate Republican Conference today in calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to pause the scheduled minimum wage increases on Long Island, Westchester, and areas outside of New York City on December 31.

Small and medium-sized businesses across New York State continue to face unprecedented challenges this year, and are struggling to keep their doors open while keeping their employees on the payroll. In order to keep employees and customers safe, these struggling businesses have made significant investments, but they are barely making it.

O’Mara said, “The small- and medium-sized business segment of our local economies has been among the hardest hit throughout this COVID-19 response. Many businesses are barely hanging on and simply would not survive a minimum wage increase now. That action would produce even more job losses, fewer short- and long-term economic opportunities for workers, and an ongoing devastation throughout local and regional economies across the Upstate region. Governor Cuomo needs to practice some common sense here and temporarily pause the scheduled wage increase until we have found our way through this pandemic. We need to be doing everything we possibly can to save our small businesses and the livelihoods thousands of our local workers depend on to support their families and communities.”

“New York State is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Recession. Thousands of small businesses have closed and millions of New Yorkers have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic. A minimum wage increase right now will only add more casualties to these lists and provide one more obstacle to our economic recovery,” said Senator Borrello, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business and small business owner. “I urge the Governor to use his authority to temporarily suspend this increase and spare our small businesses, residents and state from further economic damage.”
The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) found that 90% of small businesses which received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans have entirely spent down those funds and are ready to begin the loan forgiveness process. The federal loan program was created to keep employees on the payroll, but even with this assistance and other programs, NFIB says 20% of small businesses believe they will shut down within six months. About 19% believe they will close within a year.

From Assemblyman Palmesano: “It would seem prudent to delay this next scheduled minimum wage increase as this increase will lead to more costs, more business losses, employee layoffs and even possible permanent closures of some small businesses which, again, have been crushed by the business closures and restrictions as a result of COVID.”

The scheduled increase to the minimum wage could make this crisis worse. But, the law allows for the temporary suspension of the increases based on a report and recommendation from the Governor’s Director of Budget. Postponing the increases until small and mid-sized businesses are on a sturdy financial footing post-pandemic will save jobs across the state.