Press-Republican

Saturday

March 30, 2013

State budget cuts disability funding, raises school aid

(Continued)

Beginning with a step to $8 by the end of 2013, the minimum wage will rise to $8.75 by the end of 2014 and then to $9 by the end of 2015. 

Douglas said the chamber had disagreed with the measure.

But, he said, “it is significant that we obtained a three-year phase-in, avoided indexing, and also secured a teen tax credit.”

Indexing would have meant automatic annual increases in the minimum wage per inflation, he explained.

“This would institutionalize inflationary increases in business costs. And many private employers have been unable to provide raises to any of their employees over the last couple of years due to sluggish business and a struggle to meet the payroll they have without added reductions in staffing.”

SUBSIDIZED INCREASES

The “minimum wage reimbursement credit” will provide 75 cents an hour per employee in the  when the minimum wage rises to $8, and $1.31 an hour for workers that meet specifications when wages go to $8.75 in 2015. 

When minimum wage tops out at $9 in 2016, employers will be subsidized $1.35 an hour for three years.

And although the measure would prohibit firing an adult solely to hire a teenager and collect a credit, critics of the plan have said that may be hard to enforce.

Local businesses gain additional tax breaks in the new budget for hiring military veterans with a $5,000 tax credit for each veteran hired and up to $15,000 for hiring disabled vets.

SAFE ACT FUNDING

Stec says the budget leans somewhat toward North Country needs.

But he did take issue with Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act funding, although the ban on 10-round magazine sales to police officers is suspended in a budget bill.

“The $36 million for the SAFE Act only goes further toward treating our responsible, law-abiding gun owners as criminals, and I will continue working to repeal this violation of our constitutional right,” Stec said.

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