Panepinto: "Anyone who works full-time deserves a fighting chance."
State Sen. Marc Panepinto made the following comments regarding his Make a Living Wage Act (S.4160), which currently awaits review in the Senate labor committee:
"After a flawed budget process that failed to address both middle-class economic relief and income inequality, I am proud to introduce legislation that tackles these issues head-on. The Make a Living Wage Act will strengthen awareness around increasing the minimum wage by highlighting living wage employers in local economies across the state. By connecting and promoting these local businesses that are truly paying wages to help families make ends meet, we are rewarding both the employer and the employee.
"This bill also presents a unique opportunity in that it authorizes New York to become the first state in the nation to adopt such an innovative program. In doing so, New York state can lead once again by demonstrating our commitment to ending the systemic problem that is income inequality."
S.4160 accomplishes the following:
•Will provide employers with tools and incentives to increase wages so that workers can make a living wage.
•Will connect consumers with employers that are providing living wages.
The program would do this by establishing a living wage standard in every county. Local municipalities also would have the option to adopt a higher living wage standard than their respective county. For employers, Panepinto said, it is a way to inform consumers they are committed to a just and sustainable local economy.
This program also helps taxpayers by encouraging more businesses to pay their workers a true living wage, he noted. When more New Yorkers can make a living, he said, it reduces the need for public assistance.
The "Make A Living Wage" Employer Certification Program uses the universal living wage formula to calculate the living wage standard for every county. It is based on the idea a person who works full-time (40 hours per week) should be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment along with other expenses.
Panepinto represents the 60th Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Buffalo as well as communities in both the north and the south towns of Western New York.