For the first time, State GOP lawmakers as a group on Monday acknowledged in a draft resolution to the budget that the current $7.25/hour minimum wage has not kept up with inflation over the years, reported The Buffalo News.
Although legislators did not outline how much the wage should be increased, it signaled a willingness by the Republican Senate and Assembly to work with Democrats in raising the state’s wage over the next three years.
“It’s a sign of progress,”said Gov. Andrew Cuomo of the Senate position.
However, some Democrats remain skeptical and view the failure by Republicans to outline any clear steps for how an increase would take shape as a vague gesture toward reform.
Republican Senate Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, both of whom had to agree to the provision, shared varying opinions on the need for reform: While Klein insisted that a minimum wage increase would be included in the final budget bill, Skelos said a raise would be contingent on a number of other steps, including the enactment of business tax breaks.
Skelos also repeated the GOP’s longtime mantra that a minimum wage hike will raise unemployment levels.
Only time will tell what shakes out in the final budget version.
And although the one-house budget bills give some clues as to what the lawmakers are pushing for behind closed doors, they are viewed as essentially symbolic.