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State Republican Party chairman Ed Cox on Wednesday compared Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, a Communist, and said working poor families don’t need Cuomo’s proposed increase in the minimum wage.
Cox said Cuomo’s calls for billions of dollars in infrastructure projects statewide and his economic development regional councils, which Cox asserts dispense tax breaks to wealthy businessmen while taxes are unaffordable, are speeches “which Fidel Castro would be proud.”
A spokesman for Cuomo, who recently traveled to Cuba to extend government and business support, tried to link Cox to the GOP’s tough-talking presidential front-runner, Donald Trump.
“Not the best Trump impression I’ve ever heard, but ‘A’ for effort,” said Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo spokesman.
Cox specifically dismissed the need for Cuomo’s proposed increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Cox said a family of four making the current minimum wage of $9 — without overtime but with the help of government social services — is making the equivalent of $35,000 a year. If that family also receives Medicaid health coverage, the household income can be the equivalent of a middle-class family, he said.
“They are way above the poverty line,” Cox said, dismissing Cuomo’s claims to the contrary as “lies.”
However, Cox added that while the party rejects the $15 wage proposal, GOP legislators will negotiate with Cuomo and the Assembly’s Democratic majority. The legislative session began Wednesday.
The statewide minimum wage rose on Jan. 1 to $9 under a 2013 law that phased in increases. Under Cuomo, the minimum wage for fast-food workers, state and university workers also will rise to $15 in coming years.
Some business groups said raising the minimum wage again would threaten their businesses and force them to cut jobs.