Press-Republican

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March 27, 2013

Taxpayers to subsidize NY's higher minimum wage

(Continued)

ALBANY —

"It's a big subsidy for the corporate low-wage economy," said Mark Dunlea of the Hunger Action Network advocacy group.

Employers would be compensated at a rate of 75 cents an hour per employee when the minimum wage rises to $8 beginning next year, an election year. Employers would get $1.31 an hour for workers paid minimum wage when it rises to $8.75 in 2015. When the minimum wage rises to $9 in 2016, employers would be subsidized $1.35 an hour for three years.

Mauro calculates the state will pay over $2,800 a year to an employer beginning in 2016 for paying a teenager minimum wage. And although the measure would prohibit firing an adult solely to hire a teenager and collect a credit, Mauro and Dunlea said that would be hard to enforce.

But Cuomo said the credit was a compromise to raise the lowest wages for millions of New Yorkers.

"This budget balances the needs of families and workers who have waited far too long for a minimum wage hike with business owners looking to grow in this still fragile economy," said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.

Scott Reif, spokesman for the Senate's Republican conference, which had opposed raising the minimum wage, said the group insisted upon certain provisions to protect the business community.

"If you are going to do a minimum wage, do it phased in over several years without indexing to inflation," Reif said. "This specific refundable tax credit was a compromise. We had suggested a (lower) teenager or youth wage, and this was the compromise."

Sen. Jeff Klein, who leads the Independent Democratic Conference that runs the Senate with Republicans, said the tax credit would be effective in helping small businesses hire at the minimum wage. He said a smaller program directed at inner cities has worked well.

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