Cuomo’s back-door tax increase

New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo was at it again during his budget proposal for 2013 on Tuesday.

In the $137 million proposal announced Tuesday, the governor touted how there are “no new taxes or fees for the third year in a row.” But the governor is forgetting the added burden he is placing on a key segment of our economy: small businesses – especially in areas that border neighboring states.

By seeking an increase of $1.50 per hour in the minimum wage – from $7.25 to $8.75 – Cuomo is placing a tax on small businesses, especially those in this region. Companies with locations in New York state that also have locations in Vermont, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania may take notice of these plans, which are another competitive disadvantage that is being dictated by Albany.

By the way, a number of businesses with minimum wage positions rely on students and some seniors who are looking for something to do as well as added income. Some of those positions, with the potential wage increase, may no longer exist if the raise is approved.

In the larger picture, how will the increased minimum wage help workers in New York City? Minimum wage increases ultimately lead to increased costs for consumers.

Maybe state leaders would do better to lobby for an increase in the federal minimum wage hike than to put an added burden on only state employers and businesses.

Cuomo’s wage hike proposal, simply put, is a tax and detriment to the upstate economy – you know, that new, friendlier economy that is supposed to be “open for business.”

With the sale of the Chautauqua County Home failing on Wednesday night, county and CSEA union officials are tasked with moving ahead with the concessions that were outlined during last month’s meeting.

Those proposed changes include $400,000 in annual savings, which will not fully keep the facility operating in the black. According to the Center for Government Research report, those givebacks must be more substantial.

Let’s see if CSEA, which originally asked for 5 percent increases when the contract expired, keeps its word on the concessions.

Applause to the Dunkirk-Fredonia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and their keynote speaker on Monday.

The event was well attended at the Dunkirk Moose and included former Congressional candidate Nate Shinagawa, who gave a rousing speech to the 150 people in attendance.

“The challenges (America faces) may seem so difficult,” Shinagawa said, “but remember only in darkness can we see the stars. And, darkness cannot drive out darkness, as Dr. (Martin Luther) King said, only light can do that.”

John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to or call 366-3000, ext. 401.