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Restaurant association says the industry will suffer from a minimum wage increase

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The National Restaurant Association is urging Congress against implementing the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The association wrote a letter to congressional leadership Tuesday requesting Congress remove the act from the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. They warned that restaurants would suffer from a wage boost amid the coronavirus pandemic and cited results from a February survey polling 2,000 restaurant operators, who said that the increase would lead to job losses, higher menu prices and restaurant closures.

The survey found that 82% of restaurant operations say the initial wage increase would negatively impact the ability of the restaurant to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The survey results make it crystal clear that the restaurant industry and our workforce will suffer from a fast-tracked wage increase and elimination of the tip credit,” Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association, wrote in the letter. “Restaurant jobs will be critical to every local community recovering from the pandemic, but the Raise the Wage Act will negate the stimulative impact of a worthy plan.”

Kennedy continued, “Passage of this bill this year would lead to job losses and higher use of labor-reducing equipment and technology. Nearly all restaurant operators say they will increase menu prices. But what is clear is that raising prices for consumers will not be enough for restaurants to absorb higher labor costs.”

The Raise the Wage Act, which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced last month, would also eliminate the tipped minimum wage for restaurant service workers.

“Eliminating the tip credit will hurt millions of servers who rely on the current system where they earn between $19-$25 an hour with tips,” Kennedy wrote.

Kennedy understands the minimum wage issue in America, but thinks the Raise the Wage Act is “the wrong bill at the wrong time.”

“We share your view that a national discussion of wage issues for working Americans is needed,” Kennedy said, “but the Raise the Wage Act is the wrong bill at the wrong time for our nation’s restaurants.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Economy

NYC bill trying to repeal ‘sanctuary city’ laws put in place by liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio

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New York lawmakers are introducing a bill this week to undo “sanctuary city” laws approved from 2014-2018 under then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat. Council members Robert Holden (D-Queens) and Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told The New York Post they’ll introduce the bill Thursday.

Among the laws to be reversed include the prohibiting of the NYPD, and Correction and Probation departments from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents unless the cases involve suspected terrorists or serious public safety risks. It would also reverse rules prohibiting city agencies from partnering with ICE to enforce federal immigration laws.

“Sanctuary city laws put all New Yorkers, both immigrants and longtime residents, in danger by preventing the NYPD and DOC from working with ICE,” said Holden, a moderate Dem. “We do not need to import criminals, and only 23 years since 9/11, we have forgotten the deadly consequences of poor interagency communication. We must repeal these laws immediately.”

“Like most things in New York, sanctuary city policy is a social experiment gone off the rails,” said Borelli. “All the problems with these local laws came out during the public-hearing process, but the Council just stepped harder on the gas pedal.”

In February, Mayor Eric Adams called for the rules to be loosened so migrants “suspected” of “serious” crimes could also be turned over to ICE — as they once were under sanctuary city policies implemented as early as 1989 under ex-mayors Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg.

Among public reasons for the push is the murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley.  If it wasn’t for the sanctuary city policies, Riley is among other deaths that could have been prevented if the policies were not in place, Holden and other critics have said.

The 22-year-old was found dead Feb. 22 on the University of Georgia’s campus, six months after her alleged killer Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, was arrested in Queens and charged with endangering a child.

The Post explains of the case:

The NYPD had no choice but to cut the Venezuelan-born Ibarra loose — instead of turning him over to federal immigration officials — because he didn’t have any major crime convictions.

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams shot down the mayor’s idea just one day later, saying she and the rest of the Council’s progressive Democratic majority wouldn’t be considering any rule changes. The bill introduced this week is also likely to face objections from the Council’s left-wing Democratic majority.

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