In a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Democratic leader John Sampson is urging Skelos to bring back the Senate to Albany to increase the minimum wage.
“The need to raise the minimum wage is not a political issue, it is a moral one,” Sampson wrote in a letter obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “We have an obligation as state leaders to help lift families out of poverty, not institutionalize it.”
Senate Democrats are undoubtedly going to make Senate Republicans’ refusal to pass a minimum-wage increase a top campaign issue heading into the November elections. While Assembly Democrats passed increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50, Senate Republicans have opposed it, saying it would hurt the state’s businesses.
But Sampson disagrees.
“Raising the minimum wage will create jobs, not destroy them,” Sampson wrote.
Republicans hold a 33-29 seat majority in the Senate heading into the November elections. The legislative session ended June 21, and lawmakers aren’t expected back to Albany until after the elections.
If they come back before January, the speculation is it would likely be to pass a pay raise for themselves — an issue that could be tied to an increase in the minimum wage.
Updated: Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, focused on the positive results under Republican rule over the past two years.
“Under our leadership, we just completed one of the most successful two-year legislative sessions in New York’s history. Working with Governor Cuomo, Senate Republicans passed two early budgets that reduced spending, cut taxes for middle-class families to their lowest rates in 58 years, delivered a property tax cap and enacted a new program that will create jobs in every corner of this state. After the Senate Democrats raised taxes by $14 billion, increased spending by $14 billion and put New York’s budget in the red, Senator Sampson and his colleagues would be better off keeping their advice to themselves.”