Town of Ithaca Unanimously Backs Countywide Minimum Wage as Living Wage ($14.34/hour)

(ITHACA) On Monday, 8/10, the Ithaca Town Board, by a unanimous vote, became the first governmental agency in Tompkins County to publicly endorse the Tompkins County Workers’ Center campaign, to mandate a minimum wage for EVERYONE who works in Tompkins County that is a Living Wage ($14.34/hour in Tompkins).

Tompkins County Organizers Rally Outside Ithaca McDonald's on National Day of Action Targeting Fast Food Restaurants in May 2014
Tompkins County Organizers Rally Outside Ithaca McDonald’s on National Day of Action

Says Ithaca Town Supervisor Herb Engman: “The Town Board realized that the issue today isn’t just jobs but jobs that pay wages people can live on. The widening income gap has gotten a lot of attention nationally, and more local governments are taking action to raise the minimum wage, which has fallen over the years in terms of spending power.”

Town Board Member, Pat Leary, added: “The affordable housing gap can’t be closed by addressing just the housing side of the equation: housing has become increasing unaffordable because wages haven’t kept up. A living wage can help improve the lives of millions of people in many aspects of their lives.”

See text of Resolution below:

Monday, August 10, 2015


WHEREAS raising incomes is critical to providing economic mobility and opportunity for working families and

WHEREAS the growth in income inequality in recent years has created serious divisions within our society and community and

WHEREAS Tompkins is increasingly becoming two counties with a portion of the population thriving while many more face low wages, growing inequality, erosion of middle-class jobs, high housing costs and the institutionalization of a low-wage service economy and

WHEREAS a full-time minimum wage worker in New York earns $18,200 which is significantly below the current Tompkins County living wage of $29,827 and

WHEREAS a higher minimum wage would likely help stimulate the local economy and

WHEREAS a higher minimum wage would likely reduce the need for and the cost of providing social services in Tompkins County and

WHEREAS our community has a proud tradition of advocating for worker rights and promoting economic justice and

WHEREAS we as a community and we as a country can no longer accept wages that leave some unable to support themselves or their families and

WHEREAS some say that raising the minimum wage locally is “too complicated,” without acknowledging how complicated it is trying to live on $8.75/hour

Now therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Town of Ithaca requests that the Tompkins County Legislature pass a local minimum wage law establishing the Tompkins County Living Wage ($14.34/hour) as the minimum wage, and indexing it to the NYS, regional, or county median wage and be it further

RESOLVED that the Town Board requests that the County pass a home rule request seeking the authority to implement such a local minimum wage and be it further

RESOLVED that the Town calls on the NYS Legislature to promptly pass this home rule request.

Moved: Pat Leary Seconded: Eric Levine
Vote: Ayes – Leary, Levine, Engman, DePaolo, Hunter and Goodman