July 22, 2015
ALBANY, NY – Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, Corning) expressed concern regarding today’s meeting of the New York State Wage Board. That’s because today, the New York State Wage Board voted in favor of the governor’s proposal for an hourly minimum wage increase for fast food workers that would climb to $15 per hour over the next few years.
Palmesano noted that the Wage Board’s decision is an official recommendation to the Labor Commissioner. The commissioner has final authority to increases wages in certain industries. But he is skeptical about this process. “To me, this is another sign that the governor doesn’t believe in a balanced democratic process. He’s circumventing the Legislature because he didn’t get what he wanted. When you work around lawmakers, there is not debate, no discussion and no negotiation. That is not a sound way to run a government,” said Palmesano.
During this legislative session, Palmesano spoke out against the Labor Commissioner’s unilateral decision to raise wages for tipped workers. Palmesano introduced A.8022, legislation which would require legislative approval for any minimum wage increase. The bill would also require the Commissioner of Labor to prepare a report analyzing the increased costs imposed on businesses. Additionally, Palmesano’s legislation would limit the wage board’s ability to make recommendations to the legislature by only being able to issue a report by unanimous consent for a measure among its voting members.
“We get much better results for New Yorkers when there is compromise and discussion between both houses and the governor,” said Palmesano. “Many of my colleagues and I have real concerns about the governors use of the wage board as a clear way of circumventing the legislature to approve these wage increases. We want the many hard working people across this state to succeed and we want them to earn more money. However, because of these increased labor costs for the many small businesses that provide these jobs, I am very concerned that many of these jobs will vanish for people who need them the most.”
WLEA sent out a request to Governor Cuomo’s press office, asking for a response to this statement from Palmesano.
As soon as we receive a reply, we will post it online.