New York Blues
De Blasio Bumps NYC Minimum Wage

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday announced a plan to raise the minimum wage for city employees to $15 per hour. The New York Times:

Under the mayor’s plan, which matches a similar increase for state employees enacted by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last year, about 50,000 city workers — including crossing guards, prekindergarten teachers, custodial workers and others — would see their pay reach the $15-an-hour level by the end of 2018 […]

The majority of the city’s 300,000 employees already earn $15 an hour or more, officials said. Mr. de Blasio’s plan would affect about 20,000 unionized workers, mostly represented by District Council 37, and 30,000 employees of outside organizations — like day-care providers — whose services are paid for by the city.

The plan will cost an estimated $238 million over the course of the next five years. “We know that nothing does more to lift up working families and move our economy forward than raising wages, and the city is leading by example by doing just that,” the Mayor’s office said in a statement.

“The mayor has been lucky so far with the economy,” Nicole Gelinas of the center-right Manhattan Institute said. “If a recession comes, higher wages will have to mean more layoffs.” This is one problem with many preferred progressive policies: Wealthy cities like New York can often only afford them when the economy is booming. But the good times may be coming to an end in New York— or at least, the times there may soon be less good than they have been of late. If the tax base shrinks and the city has to cut its budget, this minimum wage increase could create pain for some of the very working families it is intended to help.

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