New York has now become the second state to enact legislation which will raise the minimum wage to $15 over the next few years. The bill will mandate a faster rise to the $15 than in the recently passed California legislation, but will include compromise similar to Oregon’s new wage law. Less populated counties and smaller businesses in the northern part of the state will be subject to raising wage levels to $12.50, with a promised future review of the impact and possibility to reach $15.
The carve out is seen as a distinct compromise for lawmakers in New York. Some pundits still claim that raising the minimum wage to $15 will hurt small businesses and cause job losses-- plugging their ears and yelling over the evidence showing otherwise. According to a report by Fiscal Policy Institute, the number of small business establishments grew twice as quickly in states with higher minimum wages, and decades of research have proven that higher wages lead to lower turnover, reducing the costs of hiring and training new workers. Also, let’s not forget that the stability of indexing the raise allows for businesses to plan operating costs far in advance. Turns out, raising the minimum wage is a win-win for all.
The tiered raise, which is part of the New York state proposed budget, still represents a major victory for wage earners and the New York economy.
As President Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” In a time of frustrating federal gridlock that leads to inaction, state level legislation allows for several outcomes.
First, it allows for lawmakers to show voters they still do things - rather than endlessly arguing hypotheticals. Second, when the economy is strengthened through raising the minimum wage, California and New York will become irrefutable case studies of proven legislation. This will put further pressure on the federal government to quit punting a move that could benefit the entire American economy. And finally, with the two different plans in place to raise the minimum wage, California and New York are creating a road map for the rest of America. A quick “how-to” for a seamless transition that would allow for the greatest possible benefit for wage-earners and businesses alike.
Americans are tired of seeing a country in need of new reform with lawmakers stuck on monologues defending exhausted policies. In a late Fall Republican Presidential debate, New York native Donald Trump stated: “Wages are too high... I hate to say it, but we have to leave it (minimum wage) the way it is.” Most New Yorkers are happy lawmakers did not settle with a do-nothing solution.
Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), one lawmaker supporting the new legislation said “our minimum wage workforce also gets a raise...This is a budget that should make every New Yorker proud.” Senator Klein has worked with the Patriotic Millionaires before, most recently by sponsoring legislation in the New York Senate supporting closing the appalling carried interest tax loophole.
New York has accepted the challenge to prove the no brainer advantages of raising the minimum wage. In time, the nation will follow suit, shortening the economic gap, strengthening the American economy, and granting true sustainable living wages to a valued part of society.
New York Patriotic MIllionaires sound off on the raise in their own words:
"I'm a Californian who has lived and worked in New York. I am very proud of these two states as they prepare to adjust minimum wages for our working class. In both states and throughout the US, the economics of the last 30 years have inured to great benefit of the 1%, while leaving the middle class and the poor behind, losing ground. It's in everyone's best interest to stop this trend. Results will be seen in reduced need for "emergency" services to those in need, a safer and happier society, and also in improved opportunity for the wealthy. Studies increasingly show that economic growth is slowed after inequality rises to a certain level, and we are well above such levels now,” said Patriotic Millionaire Dale Walker, Vice Chairman Pacific Vision Foundation.
“The Patriotic Millionaires appreciate the bold leadership shown on minimum wage. This is just the kind of economic thinking we need in this country because a $15 statewide minimum wage will improve the lives of wage-earners and positively impact the economy of the entire state. All businesses will be able to make more money when millions of their customers get raises, truly strengthening the economy. We look forward to the impact of the higher minimum wage in New York, in California, and hopefully in all the states between,” said Patriotic Millionaire Chair Morris Pearl, and former Managing Director of BlackRock.
“The low, unlivable minimum wage that exists now isn't working. Raising the minimum wage will create healthier, happier, more productive people,” said Patriotic Millionaire Lawrence Benenson, Principle at Benenson Capital Partners.
“It’s far past time to discard once and for all the wrong-headed ‘trickle down’ theory of economics which has led to crushing income and wage inequality throughout the nation and here in New York State. It’s also far past time to return the State and the nation to fair progressive taxation. And it’s now time to couple these changes with a minimum wage – an ‘entry-level’ wage – which better matches the cost of living in our State,” said Patriotic Millionaire Leo Hindery, Jr., Managing Partner of Intermedia, “With the proposed entry-level wage of $15 per hour along with reform of the so-called ‘tip wage’, and with the concurrent effort to make permanent the ‘1% Plan for New York Tax Fairness’, I think we may have just gotten there!”
“Raising the minimum wage to a living wage is not political, it’s common sense,” said Patriotic Millionaire Dal LaMagna, CEO of IceStone.
And Patriotic Millionaires from around the country:
“People who give you their service - their time,their creative energy, and their sweat - deserve to be paid enough to support themselves and their families,” said Patriotic Millionaire Jerry Fiddler, CEO of Zygote Ventures.
"Raising the minimum wage puts more money into the hands of the consumers who drive our economy. It is a simple equation: higher wages equals increased consumer spending, which makes American businesses grow," said Patriotic Millionaire Brady Brim-Deforest, Founder of the International Academy of Web Television.
"We are proud to be from the State that leads the country in tackling income inequality by raising the minimum wage to a more reasonable level. It not only helps the people making that wage, but also helps all of us have a more robust economy as those dollars flow into our commerce," said Patriotic Millionaire Frank Jernigan, Former Senior Software Engineer at Google.
"New York and California will be a great place to start consumer oriented businesses if they get the minimum wage increase!" said Patriotic Millionaire Ryan Smith, Angel Investor.
“It’s a moral and economic imperative the minimum wage be raised to $15 per hour. The stock market and corporate profits are at all time highs. Top CEO salaries average 14 million a year. But some 10 million plus full time workers are in poverty. The workers will spend increased wages, not stash them in some overseas shelter!” said Patriotic Millionaire Fred Rotondaro, Chair of Catholics in Alliance for Common Good.
“I am sick and tired of business owners complaining that their business will not allow them to raise their employees’ wages to a level that they, the employees, can actually live on. What these business owners are really saying is that they don’t want to take the extra money out of their (the business owner’s) pockets to share with the people who are making them the money their business makes. Bottom line: Greed! What they don’t want to recognize is that they have created a situation that is forcing their employees to invest in the business that they own, but the employees get no investment return. Underpaid employees are subsidizing their companies in the form of low wages. I think it is a shame!” said Patriotic Millionaire Stephen Prince, CEO of Sterling Card Solutions.