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Minimum Wage Raise Included In Cuomo's Executive Budget

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As part of his plan to raise the state's minimum wage, Governor Andrew Cuomo has included the proposal in his executive budget. While that's a good way to help ensure its passage, it's still no guarantee. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to raise the State's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75.

That's slightly higher than Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's proposal last year. But unlike the speaker's bill, future increases are not automatically tied to inflation.

"I am not disappointed," Silver said. "He's put the issue out there. There will be a robust discussion on that issue."

The governor also made a tactical decision to include a minimum wage hike in the budget, which, if on time, needs to be completed by April 1.

"Well, obviously, if you are voting on a budget bill that has multiple parts, you can't vote against certain parts of it," said Heather Briccetti of the New York State Business Council. "So it does make it more difficult for them to vote and object to that one provision."

Some say that by including it in the budget, Republicans can take cover without having to vote for it as stand-alone bill.

"Well, it's an incredibly popular issue with the public, so I don't know why they would need cover," said State Senator Michael Gianaris. "It baffles me how much the Republicans in Albany feel the need to cater to the right wing and the extremists in their own party when 70 to 80 percent of the public wants to see a minimum wage hike."

Although the hike is in the budget, it is not actually tied to the budget the way teacher evaluations are.

"Well, this is put in an Article 7 bill, so the Article 7 bills can be omitted," Silver said. "They can be changed. It is not tied to an appropriation, which is when those rules apply."

For the most part, initiatives that Governor Cuomo has supported and gone to bat for have gotten done. As for criticism that the proposal has no automatic increases, one administration officials simply said, "It's called compromise."

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