The Empire Center for Public Policy has produced a new online video series in which a dozen New York State employers explain how their hiring patterns would be affected by a proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Farmers, restaurant owners and non-profit administrators are among those featured in the videos, which have been posted at

All 12 of the employers appearing in the videos agree that hiring would be reduced and their businesses would be stressed if the Legislature adopts the $15-an-hour wage floor now being pushed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

A sampling of reactions from video participants:

“That ($15 an hour wage) means we have to cut down the staff quite a bit, because the money’s just not there to pay them.”
—John Giannott, Porters on the Lane restaurant, Bellport.

“On days where we had four people on, we’ll have two people on.”
—Patrick Pipino, Ben & Jerry’s, Saratoga Springs.

“It’s going to be an absolute nightmare for us. We’re not sure that we could even continue with that.”
—Kevin Bowman, Bowman Orchards, Clifton Park.

The Empire Center has posted the interviews as part of an ongoing effort to educate New Yorkers on the potential consequences of Governor Cuomo’s proposal, according to Tim Hoefer, the Center’s executive director.

In a recent research study, the Empire Center calculated that a $15-an-hour minimum could ultimately cost the state at least 200,000 jobs. The negative effects would be concentrated on the marginal low-income workers the proposal is supposed to help, the study said.

The proposed $15-an-hour minimum, which Cuomo said would be phased in by 2018 in New York City and 2021 in the rest of the state, would represent a 67 percent increase over the $9 minimum wage scheduled to take effect at the end of year. It would be the highest state minimum wage in the country—and easily the highest in New York’s history, even after adjusting for inflation.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and do business.


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