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August 2015 Column - Increase in Minimum Wage for Fast-Food Industry Wrong for Erie County


We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.

At a Legislative session held on September 21, 2017, Legislator Ted Morton honored Lancaster resident, Dick Young as the September 2017 Citizen of the month.

Today, in response to the County Executive’s offer to work with Legislator Morton to develop a compromise Made in America Act, Legislator Ted Morton wrote to him to begin the process.

Legislator Ted Morton first introduced the Made in America Act in support of local manufacturers and local workers in Erie County. After passing the Legislature by a vote of 9-1, the County Executive vetoed the law after instructing the County Attorney to draft a legal opinion.

Last week I kicked off my Summer 2015 Business Tour and met with business owners from a variety of industries to talk about their concerns and receive an update on how business is going. Like many of you, we found ourselves talking about the most recent mandate from New York State on small businesses and that is the recommended minimum wage hike for fast food workers to $15. This mandate is not only concern for those in the fast food industry, but all small business owners who wonder if they will be targeted next. 

The increase raises many concerns and is going to have a lot of negative consequences. While many think that this is just a hike on multi-million dollar corporations that can afford the increase, they are wrong. In NYS, a majority of fast food restaurants are franchisee-owned, with 45 percent of franchisees owning just one location. This law will apply to them because while a business owner may own just one location, they are part of a company that has 30+ locations in the state. 

This is just another reason why NYS is often ranked the least business friendly state in the country. Businesses in this state are already overregulated and taxed too high. The governor had an agenda and he appointed commission members who he knew would support his agenda. The outcome of the commission was predetermined. Frankly the impact that this will have doesn’t seem to have been considered at all. NYS leaders have again proven they are not focused on economic development or moving established, small businesses forward. 

This is once again a very frustrating example of how NYS treats businesses and there will be no “winners” in the end. Arbitrarily boosting wages in a narrow sector of industry creates an unequal playing field. Nurses, teachers, construction workers and other skilled workers should not be discriminated against and that is exactly what this recommendation accomplishes. 

At our final session before recess, the Legislature approved a resolution opposing the recommended wage hike. Because of the wage hike, it’s predicted that fewer jobs will be available in this industry. Those who fought for this wage hike could end up without a job. We have already seen several companies announce that they are embracing technology and will be pursuing automation services in the pursuit to save costs. The movement toward fewer jobs has already begun.  

Quite simply, this is not practical. It’s another bad policy being pushed by downstate politicians that will hurt the upstate economy. Eventually we have to say enough is enough.


If you have a question or comment on a county matters, please contact me at 858-8856 or email at