State Senate Republicans and the five stooges known as the Independent Democratic Conference have linked support for a long-overdue hike in the minimum wage to a $700 million tax cut. But while the tax cut would take effect next year, the minimum wage hike to $9 an hour would be phased in quite slowly, not fully implemented until 2016. Why are we not surprised?
The tax cut recipients would be worthy enough — small businesses and “middle-income” families with children — but certainly no more worthy than the 1.5 million New Yorkers now working for a slave-wage-like $7.25 an hour. Why don’t those Republicans and “independent” Democrats (who went along like sheep with this plan) try living on that kind of money for a month or two, instead of the $79,500-plus a year they make in their part-time jobs?
The Republicans have reportedly agreed to maintain the state’s so-called millionaire’s tax — the “temporary” tax on genuine millionaires the Legislature approved last year — beyond its planned expiration in 2014. But there are only 32,000 filers with earnings that high, and taxing their top income at 8.83 percent won’t raise nearly enough money to offset the $720 million tax cut the Republicans want.
Some of the middle-class families could surely use the $350 check they’re going to be getting shortly before next year’s election (what timing, huh?). But families with earnings as high as $300,000 are reportedly going to qualify, and that lofty figure hardly strikes us as “middle class.”
On the other hand, people on the bottom rungs toiling for a measly $15,000 a year could sure use more than the 75 cents an hour this deal would give them beginning next January. Then they’ll to wait another year for another 75 cents! Couldn’t these fat cats be a little more generous? The money’s going to go right back into the economy, anyway. So businesses whose bottom lines get squeezed a little by having to pay higher wages will be compensated by increased sales.