Senate Coalition Backs A Minimum Wage Increase In Budget
The governing coalition of five independent Democrats and 30 Republicans in the state Senate will consider an unspecified minimum wage increase in the budget, according to a one-house resolution document reviewed by Capital Tonight.
The Senate’s plan would increase the state’s minimum wage over three installments. The first increase would take effect in calendar year 2013, with the scheduling of the next two increases up for negotiation with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats.
Here is the budget resolution language:
The Senate will consider modifications to the Executive proposal to increase the minimum wage. Like wages for many workers, the minimum wage has not kept up with the pace of inflation. The Senate will consider phasing in any minimum wage increase over three years beginning in 2013. The Senate believes that any discussions on an increase in the minimum wage must consider: (i) the impact on workers and business’ ability to maintain and create jobs; (ii) the total compensation of employees; (iii) wages authorized under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the impact on the youth employment rate, and; (iv) the overall impact on New York’s economy. The Senate’s goal of creating vibrant and expanding opportunities for families requires that the State enact measures to provide all New Yorkers the ability to find meaningful and financially viable employment and work together to ensure a more stable and prosperous New York.
The document outlining the Senate’s budget resolution also acknowledges that the current minimum wage in New York of $7.25 has not kept pace with the rate of inflation and doesn’t include or exclude indexing future increases.
Though a final dollar amount and phase-in schedule for the minimum wage increase isn’t given, the budget resolution is a key sign that Senate Republicans are open to at least having a vote on the wage increase, which has broad support in public opinion polls, including the Siena College survey released today.
But keeping the final dollar amount and the phase-in schedule unspecified, the Senate coalition is signaling — strongly — the willingness to negotiate on the issue.
Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein this month had said he was hopeful a minimum wage increase would be in the final budget.
Senate Democrats have maintained that a minimum wage increase could be accomplished now, given the party’s numerical majority in the chamber.
Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who shares the Senate presidency alongside Klein in the chamber, had maintained throughout the budget season that his GOP conference was concerned that a minimum wage increase could impact jobs and small businesses and had pushed a package of business taxes, most of which wound up in the Senate budget resolution.
The wage increase had been one of the more contentious issues in the relatively drama-free budget negotiations. The spending plan must be approved by April 1, but lawmakers and Cuomo are expected to approve on a budget very early this year, possibly by March 21, in order to accommodate the Easter and Passover holidays.
Cuomo’s $142.6 billion spending plan calls for a minimum wage increase of $8.75 to take effect July 1.
The Democratic-led Assembly last week backed a $9 minimum wage, approving a measure that would also increase future hikes to the rate of inflation.
Cuomo today at his cabinet meeting said he would prefer to see the minimum wage increased in the budget, but hasn’t ruled out pushing for a hike later in the legislative session, which runs through June.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on March 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm, and is filed under NYS Budget, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|