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Phase-in of $9 minimum hourly wage under consideration
New York’s minimum wage would rise to $9 per hour over a three-year phase-in under a budget deal being discussed at the State Capitol, officials said Monday.
As a trade-off, the budget would include an array of tax cuts and tax credits proposed by Republicans, sources said. Lawmakers are also debating a last-minute push to tuck "stop-and-frisk" legislation into the budget.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders are trying to reach accord on a $142 billion spending plan either Monday or Tuesday, in order for the Legislature to pass it by Friday. The Legislature is slated to begin its Passover-Easter recess next week.
“I believe we’re going to get closure today,” Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said after an hourlong meeting Monday between legislative leaders and Cuomo.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said many details aren’t nailed down but that he expects the budget to be completed this week.
Minimum wage and business tax cuts are among the remaining high-profile items. Lawmakers are discussing raising the wage, currently $7.25 per hour, in a series of steps. It would jump to $8 per hour in 2014 and eventually go to $9 an hour in 2016, lawmakers said.
Republicans, who have argued a wage hike would prompt layoffs, have been pushing for a variety of tax cuts and tax credits for small businesses impacted by a higher wage. They’ve also advocated a training wage, or sub-minimum wage for youths for a short transition period — also, they said, to avoid layoffs.
Lawmakers are also discussing a renewal of the so-called millionaires’ tax, a phaseout of a surcharge on utilities, a restoration of funds for the developmentally disabled and a partial rollback of a Metropolitan Transportation Authority surcharge on businesses.
School aid — a perennial State Capitol battle — still isn’t settled either. A key issue is Cuomo's proposal to cut $50 million from a special category of school funding called High Tax Aid, legislators said. If not restored, Long Island districts would lose about $34 million.
Cuomo has proposed decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana as a way to reform New York Police Department "stop and frisk" policies. The governor and some legislators say too often minorities are charged with misdemeanors for "displaying" marijuana public after a police officer has ordered them to empty their pockets.
Do you support Cuomo's plan to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour?