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State Senator Jabari Brisport’s opposition to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s state funding deal for a new Buffalo Bills stadium now extends to the stadium’s food courts.
Brisport recently proposed S.9192, which would require state-funded sports facilities to only contract with companies that pay their employees the state minimum wage.
“Currently, employers in the hospitality industry have the option to pay workers wages below the minimum wage as long as workers receive, on average, the difference between their reduced minimum wage and the statutory minimum wage in tips.” wrote Brisport in his explanatory memorandum. “Accepting this tip credit has created many inequalities in the hospitality industry, and eight states have already eliminated the tip credit by requiring hospitality workers to be paid the full minimum wage. This bill would require that all sports facilities funded by New York State not contract with a food service provider unless the provider pays its employees at least the state minimum wage without crediting.”
The law would apply to stadiums occupied by the New York Yankees, New York Islanders, Brooklyn Nets, New York Mets and Buffalo Bills. Each of the New York City-based stadiums received government funding when they were built—although they received fewer government subsidies than the Bills’ stadium.
Before the state budget — and the Bills’ stadium construction funding plan — was finalized, Brisport drafted a letter signed by 20 state senators who opposed the deal. Brisport, D-Brooklyn, wrote the NFL, a $112 billion company, only agreed to provide $200 million for the stadium deal through a loan, while they disagreed that the Bills retain all stadium revenue, including parking, concessions, naming and television and media rights. Critics of the stadium financing deal have criticized a possible conflict of interest in Hochul’s negotiations with the stadium deal Bills, the potential benefits the deal brings to Delaware North, a hospitality and food service company that employs William Hochul, Gov. Kathy, Hochul’s husband and former US Attorney, as Senior Vice President and General Counsel.
“Recently, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she would invest $850 million from taxpayers to fund the new Buffalo Bills stadium, whose concessions will be managed by her spouse’s company.” advocacy group One Fair Wage wrote on its Facebook page on Wednesday. “Let’s stop using taxpayers’ money to fund companies that pay their employees below average wages. We need to make sure all New York State workers earn #OneFairWage. Thank you (Jabari Brisport) and (Rep. Ron Kim) for fighting to have all food service workers pay Buffalo Bill’s #OneFairWage at the proposed $850 million taxpayer-funded stadium.”
In August 2021, Kathy Hochul confirmed in writing that she would withdraw from all actions related to Delaware North, according to The Buffalo News. The newspaper also reported that William Hochul has agreed to step down from any oversight role over Delaware North government affairs or corporate compliance officials, not to interfere in the company’s dealings with the State of New York, and not to receive incentive payments for the company’s performance in New York to get york .