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Local News

April 24, 2013

'Unshackle Upstate' director speaks to local group

(Continued)

“Raising the minimum wage by 22 percent isn’t going to do anything to help our upstate businesses, predominantly our main street businesses dealing with keeping their costs down,” he added. “Ultimately, what a minimum-wage increase means is … added costs to you and me as end-users.”

“For us, though, the bigger concern was what was the impact it was going to have on employment,” he said. “If you look at a Cornell study that they conducted with San Diego State University, the last time New York raised its minimum wage, we lost 20 percent of the jobs we had for people between the ages of 16 and 29.”

Sampson said Unshackle Upstate and its allies had managed to eke out some concessions, such as phasing in the increase rather than making it in a single jump, avoiding inclusion of workers who earn tips and not indexing the minimum wage to inflation.

“Our fear was if you take minimum wage and you index it to inflation, you have guaranteed that we’ll never be able to come back to the table and negotiate.”

He also criticized extension for another four years of the “18a” energy surcharge, which was due to expire in 2014.

“If you go home today and you look at your energy bill, you’ll be able to calculate that somewhere between 22 and 26 percent of your bill, depending on where you are in the state, is taxes,” he said.

“It hurts our manufacturing, it hurts our farms, it hurts our homeowners and, more specifically, it hurts our seniors,” he added.

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