The following was submitted by Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb:
New York State consistently ranks at or near the bottom for its oppressive business climate. For people courageous enough to take a risk, invest their time and money, and start their own business, Albany rewards them with sky-high costs and endless regulations. If things weren’t bad enough, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing two new bad policies that will hurt working people and businesses.
Cuomo has taken steps to drastically alter the rules governing how businesses schedule shifts for their employees. Under his proposal, last-minute scheduling changes due to weather or other unpredictable conditions will require businesses to pay inconvenienced employees up to four hours’ wages. Managers will be required to schedule 14 days in advance, with workers getting paid two hours at minimum wage if called in unexpectedly. Further, any scheduled shift cut without 72 hours’ notice will allow the affected employee to collect up to four hours’ pay. These requirements will be a nightmare for ski resort operators, ice cream shops, golf course maintenance managers, car washes and countless other businesses that make personnel decisions based on the weather.
The governor would also like to raise the base wage for tipped workers such as restaurant servers and bartenders, which would effectively eliminate a valuable income stream they rely upon to make ends meet. No matter how you slice it, servers will take home less money if the policy is implemented.
A DISTURBING PATTERN OF JOB KILLING
Many small businesses in New York are barely scraping by due to ridiculous taxes and mandates. Adding this scheduling obstacle is another unnecessary and costly obstacle job-creators must deal with. And across the board, servers are preparing for a net loss as a result of the planned changes to the way tipped workers are compensated.
I’ve spoken to a number of small-business owners around New York and the Finger Lakes Region. Their constant theme is one of frustration and anxiety.
Eric Zimmerman, owner of Eric’s Office in Canandaigua, said “I think Cuomo’s got it in for New York – especially the restaurant industry. We had the increase in the minimum wage and paid family leave two years ago. They doubled my disability insurance costs. As a small place we can’t raise prices to accommodate all this. You talk to people in the business and they say – ‘What are we going to do?’”
As far as how servers feel about the tipped-wage proposal? “You cannot find a server that’s for it,” he said.
AN EXPERT ON EMPLOYEES – OTHER THAN HIS OWN
Gov. Cuomo is creating even more financial and regulatory pressure on small business owners, who already struggle with regulations as their bottom lines take a hit.
It is certainly ironic that the governor is quick to dictate how businesses should oversee and interact with employees. Yet, he claims to have had no knowledge that his most trusted employee, Joseph Percoco, was committing corruption crimes in the Executive Office. His administration’s handling of alleged employee harassment at the Department of Criminal Justice Services certainly leaves much to be desired. Perhaps the governor should get his own personnel issues in order before inserting himself into the business of business owners.
New York’s economic backbone can only handle so many political stunts and ill-conceived policies before it finally snaps.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at email@example.com, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.