Groups Move to Address Minimum Wage Increase In New York State

With less than a week and a half until its final agreement due date, advocacy groups in Albany have improved efforts to increase the Empire State’s minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of the budget.

Of course, many nonprofit organizations have shown up to voice their concerns—as well as advocates and Democratic legsilators—in an effort to reach a consensus about the potential for increasing the minimum wage.

Many organizations which serve, specifically, the developmentally disabled, continue to hold press conferences in the nation’s Capitol, over the last few weeks in particular, to request that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the US legislature include at least $135 million in new Medicaid funding within the state budget in order to offset the cost associated with this wage increase. In addition, other health care providers have also requested that minimum wage legislation to include funding that can help the state to accommodate higher wages for all employees.

minimum-wage-capitolA coalition of health care providers—including the Home Care Association of New York State, as well as LeadingAge New York, Healthcare Association of New York State, and the New York State Health Facilities Association—released a statement on Monday focusing on the importance of including a funding stream along with the minimum wage increase.

The groups advocated: “Our industries are different from fast food establishments and we cannot just pass the costs along to consumers. The services we provide are a public good, to large degree supported by reimbursement from public programs that have long provided a safety net for low-income and elderly New Yorkers.”

Furthermore, they add: “Without adequate state support for any wage increase, many organizations will close, worker hours will be reduced or eliminated, access to care will be imperiled, and some of our communities will suffer the loss of quality healthcare services.”

As such, the predominantly Democratic Assembly opted to include a $200 million reserve fund that will help health care providers afford this new wage increase.

In response, though, Cuomo had this to say: “We raise the minimum wage all the time. We raised it about eight times over the past couple of decades. We have never adjusted the contracts to reflect the minimum wage increase. Never.”