ALBANY – State Sen. George Borrello is joining members of the Senate Republican Conference in calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to pause a scheduled minimum wage increases on Long Island, Westchester County, and other areas outside of New York City on December 31.
Borrello – who is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business – said both small and medium-sized businesses across the state continue to face unprecedented challenges this year, and are struggling to keep their doors open while keeping their employees on the payroll.
“New York State is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Recession. Thousands of small businesses have closed and millions of New Yorkers have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic. A minimum wage increase right now will only add more casualties to these lists and provide one more obstacle to our economic recovery,” Borrello said. “I urge the Governor to use his authority to temporarily suspend this increase and spare our small businesses, residents and state from further economic damage.”
According to Borrello’s media release, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) found that 90% of small businesses which received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans have entirely spent down those funds and are ready to begin the loan forgiveness process. The federal loan program was created to keep employees on the payroll, but even with this assistance and other programs, NFIB says 20% of small businesses believe they will shut down within six months. About 19% believe they will close within a year.
Borrello said the scheduled increase to the minimum wage could make this crisis worse. But, he also said the law allows for the temporary suspension of the increases based on a report and recommendation from the Governor’s Director of Budget.