McMahon: $15 Minimum Wage Will Hurt Upstate Most

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The statewide $15 minimum wage proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo would cost New York at least 200,000 jobs, with the most severe impact felt in upstate regions that are already struggling to create jobs, E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center, testified today.

“On balance,” McMahon said, “a mandated statewide $15 minimum wage would be a counterproductive policy with a negative impact. It will disrupt labor markets, reduce job creation, drive up prices and chill the business climate.”

Speaking before the Senate Labor Committee, McMahon also noted:

  • No state or developed country has pursued a $15 minimum wage.
  • New York’s minimum wage since 1965 has averaged $8.36.
  • The current $9 minimum wage is the highest in 37 years.

A more targeted and effective approach to helping workers in poverty, McMahon pointed out, would be enhancing the state Earned Income Tax Credit created by Gov. Mario Cuomo.

McMahon’s testimony and related figures can be viewed here. Other Empire Center analysis on minimum wage is also available at

The Empire Center is a non-partisan, non-profit independent think tank based in Albany.