by Andrew Henderson
Assemblyman Robert Oaks has written to New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine, asking him to begin analyzing how a proposed raise in the minimum wage will impact the agricultural industry in New York State.
The assemblyman was surprised to learn during the Feb. 4 state budget hearing that, in spite of supporting a higher minimum wage, the department could not speak to the effect it would have on farming enterprises, particularly marginal operations.
“On February 4, 2013, I was present to hear First Deputy Agriculture Commissioner James Bays testify during the hearing on the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ spending plan for the next year,” Oaks wrote in his letter to Aubertine. “While there are many positives included for New York’s number one industry in the budget as proposed by Gov. Cuomo, I would like to share a concern that was raised during the testimony.
“I asked Mr. Bays if Ag and Markets had done an analysis on how an increase to the minimum wage would impact the agriculture industry in New York State,” Oaks added.
“He replied that the agency has not, that it was something that needed to be ‘zeroed in on.’ Mr. Bays indicated, however, that Ag and Markets does support raising the minimum wage because it would be more in line with the cost of living and it would stimulate spending.”
The assemblyman wrote that a higher minimum wage would mean increased costs.
To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397