January 7, 2016. James Parrott testified at a New York State Senate Standing Committee on Labor hearing. In his conclusion, Parrott asserts that it would be sound public policy for New York State to phase in a $15 an hour minimum wage. Considerable economically sound research supports the conclusion that the businesses can accommodate such an increase. A higher wage floor would generate significant cost savings due to reduced turnover and there is room for modest price increases to ease the adjustment without jeopardizing overall employment levels or profitability. Moreover, a $15 wage floor would boost consumer spending for over three million New York workers. It will aid struggling families, benefit one-third of the state’s children, reduce poverty, and will have positive overall economic consequences throughout New York State.
An increase in the minimum wage would reduce companies’ ability to shift costs to government programs, and would result in considerable savings at all levels of government in spending on various forms of public assistance as well as generate increased individual income and sales taxes paid by workers. But it will also be important for the State to increase human services contract funding and Medicaid reimbursement rates for certain services to enable non-profits to pay higher wages to tens of thousands of underpaid human services workers in non-profits throughout New York.