Getta load of Andrew Cuomo, the governor of the once-great state of New York. For the first time ever, reports Business Insider, a U.S. state "may single out one industry for a big wage hike."
Under a plan approved by New York's Fast Food Wage Board, a $15-per-hour minimum wage would be phased in over three years in New York City and six years across upstate New York, whose economy has long been the American equivalent of East Germany. The mandate would apply to any restaurant chain with 30 or more locations in the state.
Speaking at a rally in Manhattan, Cuomo pledged that he's just gettin' started:
"You cannot live and support a family on $18,000 a year in the state of New York — period….This is just the beginning. We will not stop until we reach true economic justice."
The legal status of the diktat is not immediately clear. Cuomo created this particular board after failing to push a broader minimum wage hike through the legislature. Chains are expected to fight the rules, which single them out for particular treatment.
Remember that Cuomo is the economic wizard behind Start-Up New York, a program that lures companies to the Empire State with tax breaks and other incentives. Earlier this year, Matt Welch noted that the program spent $28 million in advertising alone while creating "maybe" 76 jobs. Welch also pointed out that Cuomo, after dithering, locked down Yoko Ono's vote by ruling against fracking in upstate, where it might have actually brought some economic vitality. Upstate New York remains one of the great wasted opportunities in the country. It's a phenomenally varied, beautiful, and populated chunk of real estate with more mountains, lakes, rivers, and history than any single state deserves. Yet going back 60 or more years, it's been an economic slide area and nobody seems willing to actually deregulate the place so that it might become the East Coast's answer to the inter-mountain West.
Fucking up New York runs in Cuomo's blood, of course. His father Mario, a legendary three-term governor who helped drive the state into the ground, left "a meager legacy" of debt and unsustainable programs. Cuomo fils entered the governor's mansion in Albany in 2011 amid assertions that he would kneecap unions that were driving up spending, reduce business regulations and red tape, restrain taxes of all sorts, and deliver "jobs, jobs, jobs."
Reality begs to differ. Earlier this month, two reports summarized in The New York Post noted that
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University rankedthe state's economic health at 46th in the nation, barely ahead of Connecticut (47th) and New Jersey (49th).
In particular, the survey cited New York's low cash solvency — barely sufficient cash to cover short-term spending — as well as its long-term liabilities and ability to meet those spending commitments.
At $2,946 per capita, the state's debt load is more than 50 percent higher than the national average, $1,824 per person.
All of which echoes warnings from a host of local fiscal watchdogs.
Meanwhile, the National Association of State Budget Officers reports that New York's general-fund spending is rising by 11.8 percent — highest in the nation.
Not to worry, dear New Yorkers, not to worry. Andrew Cuomo is pushing for a stupid and ill-conceived tax on fast food via a historic tax on a vilified industry. Never mind that such magical thinking won't work, for the simple reasons that mandating price hikes tends to discourage demand. He will not rest until he has reached "true economic justice." Which, alas, will likely mean everyone being equally poor.
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