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For Immediate Release: March 17, 2016

Assemblyman Dean Murray (R,C,I-East Patchogue) recently joined Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua), their Republican colleagues, and small-business leaders from around the state at a joint press conference, discussing the economic dangers of raising the state minimum wage to $15 per hour and alternative pathways for New Yorkers to seek higher compensation.

“I think we can all agree with the intent of raising wages when appropriate, but we cannot ignore simple economics. Our small-business owners are already dealing with the least business-friendly environment in the nation,” said Murray. “I’ve spoken directly to many business owners throughout my District and they’ve told me that forcing them to raise their operating costs so drastically will result in them having to either dramatically raise prices, reduce their workforce or close their doors. The result will be employees being driven out of the workforce and more commerce being driven out of the state. The Empire Center estimates that an increase to $15 per hour would cause the loss of at least 200,000 jobs in New York.”

Instead of raising the minimum wage, Murray proposes investing in education to encourage residents to enter higher paying jobs. He sponsors A.8691 to create a community college merit and mobility scholarship and A.8695 to institute a ‘Learn for Work’ program in high schools for students to gain knowledgeable experience while also offering a tax credit for participating businesses. In addition, Murray supports an increase to the earned income tax credit, to help out those who are looking to raise a family and make ends meet on a minimum wage salary.

“To build a better economic environment in New York, we need to lift the heavy restrictions and mandates already on our small-business owners and help out those who are truly looking to improve their wages and standard of living,” Murray said. “I’m proud to sponsor legislation that will generate opportunities for those looking to help themselves. Imposing a raise in operating costs and forcing young professionals and businesses out of the state is not the answer. Creating a ‘Learn for Work’ program, lifting the heavy mandates already on our businesses, and helping make higher education more affordable and accessible, are all real solutions that will give New Yorkers a chance to improve their lives without further damaging our economy.”