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Conservative chairman Mike Long dislikes Albany trade-off

New York State Senate Majority Leader John

New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan speaks to attendees at a breakfast meeting held by the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in New York. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long isn’t happy that Senate Republicans backed a minimum-wage hike. But he said it isn’t a “line in the sand” issue that would trigger election-year challenges from Conservatives or threaten Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s post.

“No, I don’t think that’s the case,” he said. Yet he called Senate Republicans’ decision to hike the minimum wage to $15 per hour downstate in exchange for increased aid for K-12 schools and charter schools and a tax cut for most families, “a bad political decision.”

“I don’t believe they got enough to match the damage they did with the minimum wage,” Long said.

Asked how Flanagan did negotiating his first budget as leader, Long said: “Overall, not well.”

But Long said he didn’t think it would shake up Senate leadership.

“No, I don’t think that’s the case,” he said.

The Conservative Party often endorses Republicans, but has at times run a third-party race against them after controversial votes – most notably, same-sex marriage. Long didn’t think that would be the case this time.

“I didn’t say this was a line in the sand,” he said, referring to minimum wage.

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