Cuomo threatens fight over minimum wage

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Photo Credit: Getty Imags

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday that he won't get involved with a State Senate battle for control -- unless lawmakers don't comply with his agenda.

In a series of radio interviews, Cuomo sounded unhappy that Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), one day earlier, didn't immediately commit to raising New York's minimum wage or overhauling the state's campaign-finance laws -- two items on the governor's "litmus test" for lawmakers.

"If Senator Skelos is opposed to the agenda of the people of this state, then I will oppose him and then I will be involved," Cuomo said.

Skelos is set to be co-leader of the Senate, along with state Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx), in an alliance that includes 30 Republicans and six renegade Democrats, when the legislature reconvenes next month. Cuomo has given the coalition tacit support and said he wouldn't get involved, but issued a 10-point "litmus test" for his support.

Skelos on Tuesday didn't rule out taking action on any of the governor's agenda items, but merely said, "There's no agreement on any legislation, whether it will pass, not pass, or come to the floor for a vote."

Still, Skelos seemed to downplay assurances Klein made a week earlier that the Senate coalition would consider raising the minimum wage and other "progressive" initiatives.

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"If that's true, then we're going to have a problem . . . and we're going to have a problem sooner than later," Cuomo said on Albany-based WGDJ-AM.

In response, Skelos spokesman Scott Reif said: "If Senate Republicans have proven anything over the last two years, it's that we can successfully work with Governor Cuomo to pass an agenda that benefits all New Yorkers. The people want Democrats and Republicans to work together to get results, and we're going to keep getting the job done for them in the next legislative session."

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