Once thought likely, a special legislative session to deal with minimum wage, a lawmakers’ pay hike and the fiscal impacts of superstorm Sandy is not probable, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday.
Cuomo said he is going to be “preoccupied” with storm recovery issues for weeks to come. Plus, “confusion” over what party controls the state Senate would make it difficult to forge any agreements, he said.
“So I don’t think it’s looking especially probable,” Cuomo said in a radio interview.
Cuomo and other Democrats have talked about convening the Legislature before New Year’s Day to possibly raise the minimum wage and deal with certain criminal justice issues.
Also, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) had pushed for a legislators’ pay hike -- they haven’t had a raise in 13 years. Legislators earn a base salary of $79,500 but many receive stipends for serving on certain committees and in leadership posts, pushing the average salary above $90,000.
Cuomo’s appointees could also benefit because, traditionally, any pay raise for lawmakers includes a pay raise for state commissioners and other top aides.
The governor said he had been interested in a special session, until the storm hit.
Adding to the uncertainty, Democrats and Republicans are battling for control of the state Senate, with the outcome possibly hinging on a lengthy recount in a Catskills-Capital Region district. Republicans are in control through the end of the year, but if they ultimately lose the majority there would be little incentive for them to agree to return to the State Capitol for a special session.