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Business still pushing back on proposed hike in minimum wage

Governor Cuomo’s state budget has a strong emphasis on upstate, setting aside funding for a marketing campaign to promote the region’s produce, as well as initiatives to boost economic growth.

A coalition of upstate business and trade organizations has broadly welcomed many of the details in the budget proposal delivered on Tuesday as supportive of the region's economy.

“The Governor clearly has a commitment to upstate New York which I think is fantastic, highlighting many of the good things we do here and understanding that we need a little bit of assistance given the recession and some of the job loss we’ve had.”

Executive director of Unshackle Upstate, Brian Sampson says it’s good to see the Governor tackling some of the long-term issues with long-term solutions.

He says unemployment insurance and workers compensation have long been obstacles for private sector job growth, and tackling the issues will save the business community roughly $1.3 billion over several years.

Sampson says overall the budget sounded good, but there are a few details that he disagrees with, including the plan to raise the minimum wage.

“We don’t believe that raising the minimum wage in and of itself is the right thing to do right now. The tax foundation recently said we had the 50th worst tax climate in the country so by adding 20 percent to the minimum wage, how is that going to help us create jobs and incentivise small businesses.”

Sampson says he hopes the Governor will be open to talks about how to minimize any negative impacts that raising the minimum wage may have.

However, Sampson suggests that the continued presence of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) will have a positive impact on upstate businesses.

The REDCs have been a cornerstone of Governor Cuomo’s plan to rejuvenate the state’s economy.

“What the regional councils have done is really brought together the communities in those 10 regions, that’s a very positive step. I think overall the regional councils have been good from the standpoint of someone taking the politics out of grants and incentives to grow businesses and create jobs.”

Businesses in upstate New York will benefit from the Governor’s focus on the region as well as the continued work of the REDCs, Sampson says.

Additional reporting by Alex Crichton/WXXI News.

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail
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