Updated 03/15/2013 07:50 PM
Lawmakers weigh in on tax extension
Budget talks continue, despite the fact that many state lawmakers are not at the Capitol. And at this late hour in the budget talks, the topic of the millionaire's tax has suddenly re-emerged with the governor and legislative leaders quietly discussing the possibility of dealing with this potentially controversial issue a year early. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- With state leaders are on the verge of a budget agreement, a late development could lead to an early extension of a high tax rate for the wealthy. Due to expire in 2014, the so-called millionaire’s tax could be extended early, removing it as a re-election issue for Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“We're still looking at parts of it to see how it works out and benefits the people in the state of New York or not. It's still an open issue,” said State Senator Martin Golden.
Talks continue, meanwhile, for a minimum wage increase, with Assembly Democrats backing a $9 wage, while Cuomo wants to increase it to $8.75. For now, lawmakers say a minimum wage hike is likely to be included in the budget.
Golden said, “It looks like that's very possible that will be in the final version. It's an open issue and it's being discussed.”
A potential deal on so many contentious issues, such as keeping the tax on the wealthy and a rise in the minimum wage, would be the first with the new Senate governing coalition of Republicans and five independent Democrats. The coalition is still only three months old, but Cuomo says that so far it appears to be working.
“I think the coalition is working. The relationship among the parties is working. Does that mean we're going to get a budget on time? No. But I think it's working,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
And yet there was a disagreement this week between Senate Co-Presidents Jeff Klein, a Democrat, and Dean Skelos, a Republican, over how to read the Senate's one house budget resolution. Klein said the language made it clear there was support for a minimum wage increase, but Skelos disagreed.
Klein said, “I mean, we passed a one house budget resolution, which was the independent Democratic conference and the Republicans coming together with a document. It had 47 votes. It had the minimum wage. It had the framework for the minimum wage. So we're not moving back we're moving forward.”
Senate leaders insist that cracks in the coalition are not forming over the wage increase or any of the contentious budget issues for that matter.
“Here we go. Here we go. We're not fracturing on anything,” Skelos said.
A deal on the state budget could be announced as early as Sunday or even Monday, with legislators expecting to vote on bills sometime next week.