What Cuomo Gets Wrong about the Tipped Wage

Governor Andrew Cuomo is eager to abolish New York’s tipped wage. So eager, in fact, that he’s willing to justify his agenda with false data analysis from the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC). A new policy brief from the Employment Policies Institute outlines the problems with eliminating tip wages and explains why the problems manufactured by Cuomo and the ROC are false.

Click here to read the brief from EPI.

Three key takeaways:

First, ROC’s core claim that sexual harassment in tip credit states is “half” of states that don’t permit a tip credit includes: 1) behavior from managers and co-workers whose interactions have nothing to do with tipping or the tip credit, and 2) the reported experiences of non-tipped employees in those states.

Second, ROC collected little-to-no direct survey data from employees in states without a tip credit—only “inferring” their location from an IP address, a highly-criticized research practice.

Third, EEOC data covering a time period similar to ROC’s report shows 1.8 percent of sexual harassment claims in New York came from the restaurant industry, compared to nearly four percent in California–New York’s closest equivalently-sized state without a tip credit;

What’s more, Census Bureau data shows tipped restaurant servers self-report earning nearly $20 per hour on average in New York City, and over $17 an hour on average statewide. And these estimates are likely conservative. The facts are clear: The Governor’s prior tipped wage hikes have harmed full-service restaurants, and the case for future increases is based solely on a flawed study that doesn’t survive basic scrutiny.