ITHACA, NY – On Tuesday, the Tompkins County Legislature voted 13-1 to support a statewide plan to boost the minimum wage gradually to $15 by 2021.

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The lone holdout was District 6 Legislator Mike Sigler, one of the legislature’s three republican members, according to a news release from the legislature.

Sigler voiced concerns about the “unintended consequences” of such a hike, such as small businesses being forced to cut staff or minimum wage earners being unable to pay for child care.

Related: Should Tompkins businesses support county-wide $15/hr minimum wage?

While the legislature was overwhelmingly in favor of supporting the increase, they were not without their concerns. Legislator Richard John worried about the impact on students in the inflated economy. Legislator Anna Kelles and legislature Chair Mike Lane noted that there would need to be “structural changes” to prepare the county for this change.

Legislators Dooley Kiefer and Carol Chock moved for a change in wording that would push the increase to $15 in a quicker timeframe. The motion failed to pass, 6-8.

Despite the concerns, several on the legislature said they felt the raise was necessary. Legislator Carol Chock said that, “While some may say that raising the minimum wage is complicated, what is really complicated is living on $8.75 an hour.”

Related: Would Tompkins County benefit from a $15/hr minumum wage?

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.