The Assembly appears poised to pass a minimum wage increase later this week, but it remains unclear whether Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders will support the new bill. YNN's Nick Reisman has the latest on the battle to raise the minimum wage in New York State.
NEW YORK STATE -- There are eighteen days left in this the state legislative session and while lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo are quick to tout their already long list of accomplishments this year, the Senate, Assembly and the administration all want something before June 21. For the Assembly, it's a minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $8.50
“People who work full time shouldn't be poor. They are poor. Our minimum wage proposal makes them less poor,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.
For the Senate, it's a business tax cut of nearly $200 million.
“You're going to create another tax base by those people who are working and you've got have these types of initiatives to kick start our economy,” State Senator John DeFrancisco said.
For the governor, it's overhauling how the state cares for the developmentally disabled.
“Of all the things we have to get done or would like to get done, this is the most important,” Cuomo said.
Then there's linking. Deals are cut and bills are tied together so Republicans have no choice to vote for Democratic proposals and vice versa. Last year, lawmakers tied a tax cap to extending rent control laws for New York City after saying both measures were separate issues. As usual, lawmakers deny that's going to happen this time.
“I think they're two totally separate issues,” DeFrancisco said.
“Minimum wage is an issue that should stand on its own,” Silver said.
Democrats in the Assembly plan to vote on a minimum wage bill on Tuesday, but Senate Republicans so far have said they consider that bill to be a job killer. But Silver also may balk at their tax cut plan because of its impact to the state's budget.
Silver said, “It's balanced now. I'm not sure it can afford tax credits or tax reductions at this point and if we did have tax reductions they should be handled or they should be targeted to the lower end of income earners.”
Lawmakers will also have to tackle the disclosure of teacher evaluations, while a prescription drug abuse measure and a plan to overhaul the state's horse racing industry are also being push. Silver, meanwhile, wants to change the state's primary date away from September 11. The last day of the session is June 21.