Approved March 14, 2023


WHEREAS;   the scheduled $15/hour minimum wage in New York State represents an increase of 67% over the past six years, and will cost consumers, taxpayers, and employers an estimated $15.7 billion each year;  and

WHEREAS;  workers in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County currently make the $15.00 minimum hourly wage. The increases for the remainder of the state are based on percentage increases determined by the Director of the Division of the Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor;

WHEREAS;  Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed automatically increasing the minimum wage annually by indexing it to match the rate of inflation, with a cap of not more than 3% increase per year; and

WHEREAS;  the “Raise the Wage Act” (S3062D/A7503), supported primarily by State Senator Jessica Ramos, would raise the minimum wage to $21.25 in New York City, and to $20.00 in upstate counties, by 2026 and also index it to the inflation rate; and

WHEREAS;   a study conducted by ‘Minimum Wage Reality Check,’ a consortium of fifty agencies across the state, estimates the currently scheduled increases, even without any further indexing, will cost school districts an average of $283,463 per school district and result in an average tax levy increase of 2.6 percent;  and

WHEREAS;    thousands of small businesses will likely be forced out of business including family farms, retailers, convenience stores, and restaurants;   and

WHEREAS;   the increase in labor costs will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services;  and

WHEREAS;   higher retail consumer prices driven by a 67% increase in the minimum wage would pose an undue hardship on state residents living on a fixed income, especially senior citizens;  and

WHEREAS;   a $15 per hour minimum wage will cost farmers an estimated $500 million annually across the state resulting in higher food prices;   and

WHEREAS;    the cost of tuition for SUNY students and taxpayers will rise by an estimated $29.7 million annually, adding significantly to the steadily growing amount of student debt;   and

WHEREAS;   this 67% increase in the minimum wage already represents the highest increase in New York State’s history before indexing it to inflation;   and

WHEREAS;   the teenage unemployment rate, currently 21%, would likely double to 42% as employers eliminate entry-level jobs and hire workers with more experience and skills;

WHEREAS;   this 67% increase in the minimum wage will force many businesses to relocate out of state;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED;   the Board of Directors of the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce is adamantly opposed to the catastrophic automatic increases to the minimum wage proposed by Governor Kathy Hochul, and is profoundly against the increases proposed by State Senator Ramos and the devastating effect it would have on the business climate in the State of New York.