ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget proposal to index the minimum wage continues to draw controversy in the legislature.
Assembly Member Phil Palmesano (R-Corning) said this is not the time to index the minimum wage.
“Our agriculture community is really in a tough position. How do we expect them to invest and continue to provide food for our communities and provide the resources when they aren’t benefiting from the policies that are being put in place?” he said.
Palmesano added increasing the minimum wage impacts more than just the wage, it impacts payroll taxes, workers compensation costs, disability insurance payments and premiums, and more.
Some farmers said they are very concerned about surviving economically with revenue they are unable to control.
“As dairy farmers, we’re price takers. We don’t get to set out price. So, we can’t just pass these ever-increasing costs on. I think we’d all love to pay our employees more if we knew we could get that out of the market, but milk price is set at the federal level,” said AJ Wormuth, owner of Half Full Dairy Farm and director with the Northeast Dairy Producers Association.
Wormuth said he will be attending in person or submitting comments on this issue to the legislature’s budget hearing on agriculture scheduled for next week.