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Featured Letter: Cuomo’s wage hike should be scrapped

03/28/2016 9:00 AM |

I was somewhat relieved that The Suffolk Times editorial board has expressed reservations about the proposed $15 an hour minimum wage.

Although your primary concern, at first, seemed to be the fact that this mandate could not go through without extra funding for the various “not-for-profit” agencies that operate programs for the disabled in our state, you went on to address the negative effects this would have on farm operations and mom-and-pop businesses. I do not see how such enterprises could possibly handle this mandate — and other ones proposed by our governor — without funding or raising their prices considerably.

I will submit that if the state provides extra funding to the well-endowed, so-called not-for-profit corporations that provide services to the disabled, it should also do likewise for the “for-profit” sector that also serves the disabled while receiving far less in state funding, especially in housing. Recognizing the good work that “not-for-profit” corporations do, their CEOs nonetheless make 15 to 20 times their lowest-paid employees and receive, in general, prodigious sums from the state to provide their worthwhile services. These are not charities, although they set themselves up as such, but well-endowed state-funded enterprises.

That being said, however, the real adversary here is our governor and the fact that he wants both our private sector, including small “mom-and-pop” operations and farms, and the “not-for-profit” sector to shoulder the responsibility for the $15 minimum wage. He seems to think that businesses can operate like the state government, with its bottomless tax-funded cash reserves. This is a shrewd political ploy — based on good intentions — but constructed to put the onus on business in a state that already ranks next to last in its business climate.

Without state funding, this initiative should be scrapped.

Harry Katz, Southold

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