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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

January 30, 2012

Business Council and New York Farm Bureau weigh in against costly new mandate

Albany N.Y. - Two of New York's leading business organizations expressed dismay today, at the prospect of New York adopting an increased minimum wage law that would put its members at a distinct competitive disadvantage. Despite repeated studies that demonstrate that minimum wage increases do nothing to decrease poverty or increase employment, the bill introduced today by Speaker Silver seeks to increase New York's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour.

“When the government imposes costs on a business that the market does not dictate, we typically call this a tax,” Said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau. “Today's proposal to increase New York's minimum wage is a stealth tax for our State's farmers masquerading as a benefit for workers. In reality, this proposal will hurt the very people that it aims to help, by artificially increasing payroll and forcing farmers to make tough decisions about the size of their workforce and the price of their products.”

“At a time when we are working hard to create jobs and improve our business environment, this proposal seems particularly ill-timed and ill-considered,” Norton added.

“The Business Council believes that the way to improve our state's economy and the lives of all New Yorkers is to create more private-sector jobs. Raising the minimum wage would only hurt New York's small businesses, farms and not-for-profits that are struggling to make their current payrolls, and reduce job opportunities, in this difficult economy," said Heather Briccetti, President and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Advocates for a higher minimum wage often site evidence that shows that boosting the minimum wage will increase the paychecks of the lowest paid workers and help them out of poverty. Twenty-eight states accepted this logic after the Federal minimum wage was increased in 2003 and 2007. But studies-such as the one published last year by the Southern Economic Journal- found no evidence that state minimum wage increases made any real difference.

New York Farm Bureau and The Business Council of New York State are committed to reducing taxes, eliminating needless red tape and creating a more business-friendly economy for our State based on sound free market principles. As such, we hope that the Legislature will reject this and other measures that will negatively impact our member businesses and New York's economy.

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., is the premier business organization in New York State, representing the interests of large and small firms throughout the state.

All told, our members employ more than 1.2 million New Yorkers. We serve as an advocate for employers in the state political and policy-making arena, working for a healthier business climate, economic growth, and jobs.

New York Farm Bureau is the State's largest agricultural lobbying/trade organization. Its members and the public know the organization as “The Voice of New York Agriculture.”

New York Farm Bureau is dedicated to solving the economic and public policy issues challenging the agricultural community.