What Comes Really Cheap? Workers in Broome County.Posted: March 24, 2017
By Dave Duncan
Wages in Broome County rose by 3.5% from the second quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of 2016 according to a report from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics that looked at the 18 largest counties in NYS. This makes workers in Broome County the second poorest paid in the state, at $8.01 per hour. Oneida County is at the bottom, slightly below Broome. Weekly wages in the poverty stricken state of West Virginia are the same as those in Broome.
Development Agencies Promote Our Cheap Labor as a Lure
Development agencies in Broome advertise information on this county all over the nation in an attempt to attract businesses. A big part of the attraction presented to nationwide businesses is that Broome County workers are poorly paid but well-educated, and productive. Adding to the lure of cheap, productive labor is the promise to developers that they will be awarded millions in property and sales tax breaks.
Who Pays When These Jobs Are Created?
Certainly the poorly paid workers that are exploited. The taxpayers also pay because in many cases these workers need welfare support to care for their families and so county welfare costs increase. These same taxpayers also make up for the tax breaks that are awarded to the businesses by the Industrial Development Agency.
Who Gains From Low Wage Jobs?
Certainly the businesses that can add to their profits by paying welfare wages to productive employees. We must also look at all of the cost of operating the many development agencies in Broome County. The CEO’s and directors of these agencies like the IDA do not work for $801 per week. Let us have the directors of the Broome Development agencies and the politicians who support the efforts of these agencies work at the average pay rate of the jobs created. Wouldn’t that be a great way to incentive those tasked with economic development?
Transferring the Wealth
The Broome County Industrial Agency’s main job is to transfer wealth from the residents of the community to developers who already have money.
The IDA has provided tax breaks for developers of housing for students and seniors who then pay rents that most county residents cannot afford for their families. Most of these tax breaks have been for a period of 15 years.
Now the IDA is considering requests from housing developers for 40-year tax breaks. These housing developers create very few long term jobs.
Will the IDA give the 40-year tax breaks?