Albany’s risky experiment with New York’s economy, a mandatory $15 minimum wage, begins Saturday with the start of the new year. The timing couldn’t be worse. City businesses with 11 or more employees will be hit with a whopping 22 percent hike in wage costs for their workers, as the first phase — a $ jump over the $9 minimum — kicks in.
By the end of 2018, the city’s wage floor is set to hit the full $15. The rest of the state, where the economy is far more dicey, gets a small break, as the hikes phase in more slowly — an obvious admission by Albany that they’ll take a toll. The law has populist appeal.
Who doesn’t want a raise? Yet businesses looking to save on labor costs — not to mention New York’s taxes and onerous regulations — may simply set up shop in states with lower minimums. The hikes also are sure to prompt some companies to turn more to robots to do the job of workers. And businesses that can’t easily automate or head out of state may simply be forced to close.
In total, a 2015 report by the Empire Center for Public Policy and the American Action Forum predicts job losses for the state of between 200, 000 and 600, 000 when the $15 wage is fully in place. And as jobs here vanish, so, too, will the population continue to shrink. Which is scary, particularly coming on news this month from the Census Bureau that for the first time in a decade New York’s population dipped through the first half of 2016.
Is Albany trying to push New Yorkers to leave? Remember, Cuomo also banned fracking, and all the jobs that would’ve come with it. Last one out of New York — please turn off the lights..