Resolution # 2017-42 Enfield Town Board Support of the Living Wage as the Minimum Wage in Tompkins County

Resolution # 2017-42 Enfield Town Board

Support of the Living Wage as the Minimum Wage in Tompkins County

WHEREAS, it is one of our most cherished values that there is dignity in work; and

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 divisions within our society and community; and

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

WHEREAS, the Alternatives Federal Credit Union has conducted a Living Wage study every other year since 1994 to establish the cost for a single person working full-time to live in Tompkins County, and the subsequent wage necessary to meet this cost; and

WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Workers Center, which certifies local living-wage employers, lists currently more than 100 Living Wage entities across the county, a list that includes the Town of Enfield and five other municipalities, encompasses more than 90 employers with workforces less than 50 employees, and represents over 2,800 workers making, at least, a Living Wage; and

WHEREAS, failure of employers to pay workers a living wage is a major problem for the residents of the Town of Enfield, highlighted by the fact that 73% of students at Enfield Elementary qualify for free or reduced lunch, representing the highest rate of any school in the County; and 

WHEREAS, a full-time minimum wage worker in New York State earns $20,176 at the current minimum wage of $9.70/hour, an income significantly below the current living wage in Tompkins County of $29,827; and

WHEREAS, a higher minimum wage across Tompkins County can increase spending on locally produced goods and services by workers benefiting from such increased wages, which, in turn produces greater demand and helps stimulate the local economy; and

WHEREAS, a living wage can reduce the cost burden of social services in the Town of Enfield and 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 can no longer accept wages that leave hardworking people unable to support themselves nor their families; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the Town of Enfield requests that the Tompkins County Legislature pass a local minimum wage law establishing the Tompkins County Living Wage, as determined by Alternatives Federal Credit Union, (currently $14.34/hour) as the minimum wage; phasing this new minimum wage in over a four year period; and indexing it to changes in the Tompkins County Living Wage thereafter; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Town of Enfield supports Tompkins County further passing a home-rule request to New York State seeking the authority to implement such a local minimum wage; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Town of Enfield calls on the New York State Legislature to pass promptly said home-rule request; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Tompkins County Legislature, the Tompkins County Council of Governments, New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, New York State Senator Thomas O’Mara, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.