As part of the $136.5 billion budget plan, lawmakers in Albany have agreed to raise the state’s minimum wage to $9 an hour, reported the Times-Union.
There was no public proclamation of a deal by Cuomo nor the conference leaders. But Senate and Assembly leaders met privately with their members on Monday, and sources corroborate that a wage increase deal has been folded into the new budget.
According to the paper, the pay hike would not be indexed to inflation and would be phased in over three years, from $7.25 to $8 by Jan. 1, 2014. Then by Jan 1, 2016, it would finally go up $9, the same amount proposed by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address.
Republican lawmakers who have pushed back on a wage hike calling it a “job killer” acquiesced to the increase in exchange for a few tax break provisions for individuals and small businesses.
Democrats – not altogether happy with the three-year phase in – acquiesced to the plan after GOP members agreed to drop the “training wage,” which paid young workers less in the first six months of work.
But the final budget still awaits a vote, and bills cannot be voted on less than two calendar days after they're introduced.
The current fiscal year ends March 31, and lawmakers are scheduled to take vacation next week for religious holidays, so Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos of Long Island said he expects the final budget could be adopted by week's end.