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Ulster Chamber Members Surveyed on Proposed Minimum Wage Increase

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March 28, 2016
The Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce recently surveyed its membership on the proposed New York State increase in the Minimum Wage to $15 an hour. The results showed that while nearly third-quarters of chamber members (72%) favored an increase in the Minimum Wage, close to two-thirds (64%) were opposed to raising the Minimum Wage to $15 an hour, which would amount to an increase of 67%.
 
According to the Chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, Joe Charmello, “Many members told us that an increase of this magnitude would cripple their businesses. Some members said they would have to raise the price of their goods and services significantly, which in many cases would make them much less competitive with other similar businesses in neighboring states where the Minimum Wage was lower.”
 
Other respondents to the survey told us they would need to offset the increase by laying off employees. Nearly half (44%) of those opposed to the increase said they would reduce their workforce by an average of 1-5 employees. Other business owners reported they would offset the increase in the Minimum Wage by reducing the number of hours or the benefits paid to their employees.
 
In addition, sadly, several local business owners who responded to the survey said that the forced increase in the Minimum Wage would cause them to either close their business completely or move to another state. That latter group included one large local manufacturer, who also owns other manufacturing facilities elsewhere. That manufacturer indicated that if the Minimum Wage increase becomes law, they would close their Ulster County facility and move all of their manufacturing out of New York State.
 
These are the specific survey questions and results:
 
Are you in favor of an increase in the NYS Minimum Wage to $15 an hour?
Yes – 36%
No – 64%
 
Would you support an increase in the Minimum Wage if it was less than $15 an hour?
Yes – 72%
No – 28%
 
If the minimum wage is increased to $15 an hour, would you have to lay off employees?
Yes – 44% (Majority would lay off between 1-5 employees)
No – 56%
 
If the minimum wage is increased to $15 an hour, would your prices have to be raised to offset the increased costs? 
Yes – 61% (Average increase 20%)
No – 39%
 
If the minimum wage is increased to $15 an hour what effect would it have on your business?
  • This could possibly bankrupt us at this time 
  • We would probably close
  • We would restructure the services we provide and reduce the amount of employees
  • Reduction in workforce
  • Would result in higher prices for the services I provide and the goods I sell
  • We would leave New York State
  • Would cut hours and look at even reducing store hours
  • Raise our hotel rates
  • Our business would not be competitive nationwide
  • We would hire for less hours and raise rates
  • Move out of NYS
  • Reduction in employees
 
Do you have any other comments relating to the proposed increase in the minimum wage?    
  • Government regulation and taxation is bankrupting us
  • There needs to be a training wage
  • Let's not be ridiculous. Almost doubling min wage
  • It will negatively impact business
  • Wage increase would have a cascading effect
  • Not in favor. Not all employees provide $15 of value
  • I would consider closing my store
  • Every person would need a proportional raise
  • It prevents expansion and hurts entry level people
  • Hard to hire school kids for $15/hour
 
 
The Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce is urging our NYS legislators to oppose the increase in the $15 Minimum Wage.

 
Contact:
Ward Todd, President/CEO
ward@ulsterchamber.org, 845.338.5100