The Grow NY Farms Coalition delivered a letter to Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie today, urging them to reject proposals to increase the minimum wage. The coalition argues that New York’s family farms cannot compete with neighboring states and countries where the cost of doing business, including the minimum wage, is significantly less.
The coalition states that most employees in agriculture make more than minimum wage and receive added benefits not offered by any other industry. However, when entry-level pay increases, the entire payroll is forced up, in addition to the taxes and benefits that go along with it. The coalition claims that additional mandates to increase wages for the agriculture industry will put New York’s food security at risk, jeopardize food supply chains, and ripple throughout rural economies across the state.
The state’s minimum wage is set to increase to $15 an hour upstate at the end of 2023, and it is already fully implemented in New York City and surrounding metro counties. Increasing costs for farms, according to the coalition, put the state’s food security at risk, and with one in ten New York households already suffering from food insecurity, this is not a gamble worth making.
The coalition urges the government to pause any plans for minimum wage increases, allowing family farms and small businesses to catch their financial breath, assess economic impacts, and plan for the future.
The issue of the minimum wage increase has been a divisive topic in New York, with proponents arguing that it is necessary to ensure a living wage for workers, while opponents, like the Grow NY Farms Coalition, argue that it will have a negative impact on the state’s agricultural industry.
The coalition’s letter comes at a time when many businesses are still struggling to recover from the economic fallout caused by the pandemic. The proposal to increase the minimum wage could have a significant impact on New York’s economic recovery, particularly in the rural areas where agriculture plays a crucial role.
It remains to be seen whether the legislature or Gov. Hochul will heed the coalition’s call and reject proposals to increase the minimum wage or whether they will move forward with proposals.
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