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Bloomberg Fights Living Wage With $1 Million Self-Serving Study

October 5, 2011
View the Original Article

Mayor Bloomberg really does not want to raise wages for workers in "low-skilled jobs" in New York City. How much does he hate the idea of raising wages to $10 an hour, or $11.50 an hour at companies that get $1 million or more in city subsidies? So much that he used $1 million in city funds for a study [pdf] that reached the same conclusion as a study performed this spring did: paying workers more will kill jobs. Up to 13,000 jobs. Comptroller John Liu reportedly said that the "report is so flawed its not worth the bandwidth for a download."

Not only did the new study completely ignore the new (more business-friendly and therefore watered-down) version of the Fair Wages For New Yorkers Act, it failed to take into account hard data from actual cities like LA and yes, New York, when calculating the supposed damage done by raising pay. The study "takes place in an unrecognizable New York City where real estate values never rise and 40,000 retail jobs weren't added over the past decade," James Parrott, chief economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute says in a blistering rebuttal [pdf].

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. agrees, saying in a release that the study is "nothing more than a ruse designed to provide cover for Mayor Bloomberg’s clearly stated opposition to living wage mandates." Conveniently, Dmitry Medvedev Council Speaker Christine Quinn now has an excuse to sit on the bill. Will that please the businesses that may or may not donate to her anticipated mayoral campaign? Pure coincidence! Besides, it's not like the city is grappling with a poverty epidemic or anything.