As State Lawmakers Pack Up, Cuomo Issues Last Minute Push for Minimum Wage Raise
It's crunch time for state lawmakers in Albany to wrap up important measures like expiring rent laws. But Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo was 150 miles south at a Manhattan rally to press a longshot goal that observers thought was off this year's agenda. NY1's Josh Robin filed this report.
Look around the state Capitol, and you won't see him. Follow the Jon Bon Jovi music, and there's Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a midtown union hall.
Why is he in Manhattan?
"The legislature leaves today. So I could be in Albany, but I'd be alone," he said.
Alone, or maybe not—if he asked lawmakers to stay.
Doubly surprising to some is that Cuomo says this rally is to press lawmakers to hike the minimum wage. Cuomo failed to get it included in the state budget in March, and lately he seemed to move on to other priorities.
That's not to be confused with a limited minimum wage boost for fast food workers. A state panel could soon require that, but not the far wider minimum wage boost for everyone.
That requires an OK from the state Senate, which so far says no.
"In Albany, you can never give up him. And so you hope until the very end," Cuomo said.
The last minute push surprises some, though, because Cuomo has been complaining about the very same thing in Mayor Bill de Blasio: being too late to the negotiations. In the mayor's case, with regard to an affordable housing tax credit known as 421-a.
Cuomo said Wednesday: “You’re not going to get something like this done well in two to three weeks in my opinion.”
The end of the legislative session plus the rising mercury maybe appears to be fraying relations between the governor and the mayor. But on Thursday an apparent insult of Bill de Blasio—by Cuomo—appeared to boomerang on the governor.
It has to do with a favorite de blasio phrase: "income inequality."
"I don't use those words—'income inequality.' Why? Because we never said we're all going to have equal incomes," Cuomo said.
It was those two words, however, that led a New York Times op-ed column Cuomo penned last month on the need to raise the minimum wage.