NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Governor Cuomo to Bypass State Legislature on Wages

June 8, 2015

Governor Cuomo, who has never faced a serious election, has engaged in the unserious business of bypassing the state legislature to do what few others in America can do - single handedly set wages. The Wage Board recently held a public hearing in Buffalo; results have yet to be published.

In March 2013, Governor Cuomo signed a bill passed by the state legislature that raised the minimum wage to $8.00 in 2014, $8.75 in 2015 and $9.00 at the end of 2015.

Under New York State law, the recommendations of the Wage Board take effect without going through the state legislature. So if Governor Cuomo's Wage Board decides wages at fast food establishments should be $15 an hour, those wages will rise without a vote from the elected representatives - who have already declined to raise wages any further.

The Wage Board is composed of three people who supposedly represent labor, business and the public. All three are on record as supporting an increase in wages for employees of fast food establishments and so the recommendations of the Wage Board, due later this summer, are entirely predictable.

The state labor commissioner, Mario Musolino, has determined that low wages are only unfair when they are being paid to fast food workers.

The entirely predictable recommendations of the Wage Board will mean consumers of fast food will face fewer restaurants and higher prices. Some workers will lose their jobs. Countless other unknown workers, especially teens starting out in the workforce, who might have had jobs at those restaurants, will no longer have that opportunity. 

Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Cuomo's Fishy Fast Food Wage Board," Economic Policies for the 21st Century, June 4, 2015.


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