St. Lawrence County employer NYSARC fears layoffs will follow minimum wage hike, if funding isn't provided to offset costs
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 8:43 am

NYSARC, one of St. Lawrence County’s largest employers, has applauded the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice but cautioned recently announced $15 minimum wage tax credits would not benefit providers that support people with developmental disabilities.

“Social Justice is at the core of the services that our 48 Chapters provide to people with disabilities statewide,” said NYSARC Executive Director Steve Kroll.

NYSARC has pushed for provisions in the state budget to that would offset the cost of increasing minimum wage to $15 per hour. With no such funding, NYSARC says layoffs are likely across the state.

St. Lawrence NYSARC, which serves about 750 clients, closed one workshop in Hermon last year, consolidated some services, and has cut its workforce from about 620 to about 580 through attrition over the last few years.

“Our agencies and the other not-for-profit organizations that provide direct care to people with disabilities, the elderly, and veterans in our state would not benefit from the tax credit announced by the governor,” Kroll said.

“Instead, as we have long championed a living wage for our direct care workers, we would need a commensurate Medicaid provider rate increase,” he said. “We are agents of the state, providing services deemed to be in the best interest of the state, and any wage increase without a corresponding rate increase from New York State would hurt our workforce and the people we serve. We don’t have a profit margin to cut — only much-needed jobs and services. In the @fightfor$15, please be fair to Direct Care.”

NYSARC has been advocating statewide to secure provisions in the state budget to ensure the continuity of vital supports and services for people with developmental disabilities and their families, and a living wage for the support professionals entrusted with their care.

NYSARC is leading the “It Matters To Me” grassroots advocacy campaign to highlight the concerns of people with developmental disabilities, their families, and the dedicated staff who support them. To learn more about the “It Matters To Me” campaign, visit NYSARC’s Advocacy Action Center at www.nysarc.org.