Legislative leaders in both the Senate and Assembly met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday afternoon, stopping to give their takes on their individual budget proposals on the way out.
The joint budget resolution from coalition of Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference includes language that makes clear the chamber will “consider modifications to the Executive proposal to increase the minimum wage.” Specifically, the resolution calls on the Senate to “consider phasing in any minimum wage increase over three years beginning in 2013,” without specifying the amount of the increase. (Minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour in New York, the federal rate.)
Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, said the “language is very clear.”
“We have in our one-house budget resolution an increase in the minimum wage,” Klein told reporters. “The increase would start this year and then subsequent increases would be done over the next two years.”
But Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, who shares control of the chamber with Klein, said it’s simply a consideration. Republicans have been wary of a minimum wage hike’s impact on small businesses and youth employment.
“I said we would consider it,” said Skelos, R-Nassau County. “Some have written that I support it, but I said in all of the resolutions that I would consider it along with other business tax credits and incentives.”
Klein and Skelos, who addressed reporters separately, also weren’t on the same page when it came to funds for the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, which passed in January and calls for the implementation of a statewide pistol-permit database.
The Senate budget would take about $32.7 million away from implementing the database, according to the Daily News.
“I think it’s just a matter of that’s and awful lot of money to be spending and we’re not prepared to think that that has to be spent right now or ever,” said Skelos.
Klein, however, said the resolution was being misinterpreted, and instead the Senate is looking to expand the database to include individuals who have committed crimes with guns.
“What the Senate coalition wants to do is expand the database,” he said. “We want to keep the pistol database as the governor proposed but we want to take it one step further.”