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Standing Up for Minimum Wage Hikes

This week, New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos dashed any hope workers advocates had for a minimum wage increase this year.  He released a letter that essentially called a minimum wage increase non-negotiable issue for his members.

Senator Skelos is against a proposal that would raise the minimum wage in New York from $7.25 to $8.50 next year with future increases tied to the rate of inflation. It's a modest plan, but even this compromise seems to be dead for the near future. 

Here's why Senator Skelos' thinks raising the minimum wage is a bad idea. And why he's wrong:

  • Senator Skelos argues that raising the minimum wage is just another example of the extreme "taxing and spending binge" that progressives push for. This argument is confusing at best, raising the minimum wage is neither "taxing" nor "spending." The minimum wage is a public policy designed to ensure the public is compensated fairly and has disposable income to spend to keep our businesses strong. It is also not part of some radical progressive "binge" as he implies, there's nothing extreme about the minimum wage. It is not a fringe idea from the far left, as recently as last week, 78% of New Yorkers polled supported increasing the minimum wage.
  • Senator Skelos insists that having a higher minimum wage would cost us jobs. But 2006 Nobel Laureates, six past presidents of the American Economic Association, and hundreds of other economists disagree. They believe that a higher minimum wage “can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed. Study after study has found that raising the minimum  wage does not lead to a decrease in employment."