The New Year rings in some state laws that could increase your paycheck and make it easier on your family. As of January first, the hourly minimum wage will increase from $9.70 to $10.40 an hour. Fast-food workers outside of New York City see jump to $11.75. Assembly member Al Stirpe from Cicero, says this change should just be a first step.
“At $10.40, if you work 40 hours a week you’ll make (around) $21,000 which is not a lot of money. I understand businesses would like to have their expenses at a minimum. But we have to take care of the people doing the work.”
The state’s Paid Family Leave program also starts January first. It provides up to eight weeks of paid leave. People caring for a loved one can get up to 50-percent of their wage. That increases to 12 weeks and two-thirds of pay over four years.
“It’s most likely they haven’t saved a lot of money because they’re living hand-to-mouth. This at least allows them to have some income coming in during this period so they can buy food, possibly take care of rent or whatever. Still going to be tough for them. It’s not a panacea, but it definitely will help.”
The money comes from a fund out of employees paychecks. Stirpe has heard businesses are concerned they’ll have to fund the benefit. But he doesn’t think that will be the case. In fact, he views this as a long term investment.
“You don’t want to lose an experienced worker. It costs you a lot more money to go through all the training and replace somebody who says ‘well I can’t do this anymore because I can’t live and not get paid.’ It really ends up being a smart investment for companies.”
OTHER NEW LAWS FOR 2018 WITH ECONOMIC IMPACTS.
- Workers’ Compensation Reform: This year, the Senate successfully led the fight for the most significant workers’ compensation reform in a decade. This top Senate budget priority will help businesses, local governments, and not-for-profits continue to achieve meaningful savings, while also enhancing the protections in place for injured workers. It included a requirement for the state to issue Permanency Impairment Guidelines by Jan. 1, 2018. Drafts of the proposed guidelines are currently under review. Once finalized, the updated guidelines are expected to generate significant savings to the Workers’ Compensation system that results in a rate reduction for both public and private employers.
- Child and Dependent Care Credit: This year’s budget included an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000. It also expands the current cap on child care expenses from $6,000 to $9,000, depending on the number of children, for families with up to five children.
- Repeal of the tax on Agricultural Cooperatives: To help further promote farming in New York State and reduce nuisance taxation, a repeal of the tax on agricultural cooperatives takes effect and will save agricultural cooperatives approximately$600,000 annually.
- Life Sciences Research and Development Credit: This year’s budget included a new tax credit taking effect Jan. 1 for life sciences research and development, providing $100 million for businesses in the form of a 15-percent tax credit on all new qualifying research and development expenditures. Small businesses in the industry would also be eligible for a 20-percent credit.
- Extending Property Tax Exemption for Energy Efficiency: To promote the installation of additional types of renewable energy systems, an extension of the real property tax exemption for energy efficiency takes effect on Jan. 1. The exemption will encourage the installation of systems such as micro-hydroelectric energy systems, fuel cell electric generating systems, among others, when solar, wind and farm waste technologies are not feasible or are less appropriate. S4069, Chapter 336, sponsored by Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-I, Utica)
- Supporting Fair Wages for Direct Care and Clinical Professionals: After the Senate advocated for funding that was absent from the Executive Budget proposal, the final budget provides a $146 million multi-year boost in wages to compensate direct care and other clinical professionals for the important work they do in caring for our most vulnerable adults. A 3.25 percent targeted wage increase for not-for-profit direct care and support workers under the auspices of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Office of Mental Health, and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, begins Jan. 1, 2018. A second 3.25 percent increase is scheduled to take effect April 1, 2018 that will also include clinical workers.
- Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) COLA Pass-Through: The FY 2018 Enacted Budget contained legislation to authorize the pass-through of any federal cost of living adjustment (COLA) that becomes effective within the first six months of the new year. This new law will be effective Dec. 31, 2017.
- Runaway and Homeless Youth Assistance: Youth and young adults who do not have access to consistent, stable housing are a highly vulnerable population and are often trying to escape issues including neglect, abuse, domestic conflict, and sexual exploitation. Major reforms included in this year’s budget to help runaway and homeless youth will take effect Jan. 1, 2018. Localities will be given the ability to expand the length of time that youth can receive residential services and expand the maximum age of youth eligible to receive services from 21 to 24.