Wage hike can backfire

Editor, OBSERVER:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to increase New York’s minimum wage by more than 20 percent to $8.75 should worry New Yorkers.

The proposal may appear beneficial, but the actual effects of such a hike will be fewer opportunities for less-skilled jobseekers in a state where over a quarter of them already can’t find work.

Businesses that hire entry-level employees and pay them minimum wage – restaurants or grocery stores, for example – keep 2 to 3 cents in profit from each sales dollar, and can’t just absorb the increase. Raising prices on cost-conscious customers typically isn’t an option, either, because sales fall as a result.

Businesses are instead forced to provide the same service at a lower cost – that means more self-service, and fewer job opportunities for the same people the governor is concerned about.

The evidence backs up the intuition: Recent research published in a Cornell University academic journal found a greater than 20 percent drop in employment for less-educated New Yorkers following the last state-mandated wage hike.

MICHAEL SALTSMAN,

research director,

Employment Policies Institute,

Washington, D.C.

44 cents

is well spent

Editor, OBSERVER:

Spending 44 cents to mail a greeting card or letter to a friend, say, in California, is not too expensive. In fact, it is a heck of a deal.

And you can call me old-fashioned, but the written word still means something to some of us. Of course, we may have to plan ahead a little, but I would rather do that than send a generic email to someone.

A greeting card is chosen, and it bears a hand-written signature. Believe it or not, not everyone owns a computer.

LENNY CATALANO,

Dunkirk