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Council's Quinn Still Waffling On "Living Wage," But Not Food-Stamp Fingerprinting
New York Daily News
Celeste Katz

October 12, 2011
View the Original Article

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn continued to duck a controversial “living wage” bill today.

Our Reuven Blau reports:

The proposed measure would require city-subsidized companies to pay workers $10 an hour plus benefits, significantly more than the $7.25 minimum wage.

“We are continuing to review it,” she told reporters at City Hall.

Hizzoner is adamantly against the bill, arguing that it will wipe out as many as 13,000 jobs.

Quinn, a 2013 mayoral wannabe, has avoided taking a stance on the politically charged legislation.

The bill has strong labor support but is strongly opposed by the business leaders. In response to those concerns, the bill’s advocates are writing a watered-down version of the legislation. Those suggested changes limit the number of firms that would be covered by the new pay rules.

“I have not had a chance to read the new bill because there is not one,” Quinn said.

Those adjustments were supposed to be completed yesterday but have not been finished yet, she added.

Quinn discussed the pending legislation during a press conference where she called for the end of fingerprinting food stamp applicants.

She called the practice “punitive and costly” and argued that it has never actually helped detect fraud.

Asked why the longstanding practice had suddenly become an issue, Quinn insisted that she has called for a stop to the requirement for years.

“We’ve been trying to raise attention and volume on this for quite some time,” she said.

The city maintains fingerprinting is a helpful tool in catching bogus applications.

Update: GOP Brooklyn State Sen. Marty Golden is out with this response to the food stamp issue: “For Speaker Quinn to call a practice that has eradicated food stamp fraud ‘unnecessary, costly and punitive’ should sound an alarm for every New York City taxpayer. I can’t stress enough how important it be that the food stamp application process continue to include electronic fingerprinting. We must have every mechanism in place to make sure that those most deserving of public assistance are in fact the ones receiving it, and no one else.” - CK