Impact on Public Education of Proposed Minimum Wage Increase

ALBANY, NY (10/30/2015)(readMedia)-- The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) recently surveyed its members to determine the approximate impact of a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour as proposed by the Governor.

With 307 school districts (45%) and 22 BOCES (59%) reporting, the combined fiscal impact of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would be at least $276 million and affect 33,422 employees of these public entities. For school districts, the average cost would be $283,463 and result in an average increase in the tax levy of 2.6%.

"The impact on public education would be significant, particularly in light of a tax cap that is projected to be near or at zero for next year. The estimated impact on school districts and BOCES outlined in this survey only scratches the surface and does not take into account the added costs for substitute teachers or the inflationary pressure to increase wages for other staff currently making in the $15 range. This well-intentioned proposal could quickly spiral out of control and have unintended consequences on people's taxes, jobs and benefits, "stated Mr. Borges.

"The NYS Department of Labor's decision to increase the minimum wage for fast food workers is just beginning to have an impact on school cafeteria operations that are already running in the red in many districts due to new federal nutrition standards. Again, another well-meaning public policy that is having unintended consequences on school finances and has resulted in a tremendous waste of food as students stop buying school lunches that they find unappealing," continued Mr. Borges.

"The Governor and Legislature should proceed cautiously and hold hearings around the state to get input from various stakeholders before moving forward with this far reaching proposal. Being first in the nation to implement a new policy is not always the best policy," concluded Mr. Borges.