RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- County Executive Rob Astorino discussed mandate relief, pension costs and the minimum wage at the Business Council of Westchester's board of directors meeting Thursday.
“Mandates are out of control,” said Astorino. He noted that 75 percent of the county's $1.8 billion budget is for mandated programs, with the remaining 25 percent going to discretionary spending.
Astorino also addressed soaring public pension costs and noted that they are guaranteed a 7 percent annual return in New York regardless of downturns in the market.
Regarding the issue of raising the minimum hourly wage to $15, Astorino maintained it would close businesses and called for BCW members to vocalize their opposition.
“Fifteen dollars an hour is a completely arbitrary number with real negative impacts," said Astorino.
Minimum wage will be a key issue when the BCW travels to Albany to meet with legislators for the annual Lobby Day on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Astorino noted that there has not been an increase in county tax levy for the past six years and that county employee compensation outpaces the private sector.
The county's Industrial Development Agency supported 14 projects with total private investment of more than $842 million in 2015.
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