Senate Republicans to seek STAR rebate checks for seniors in budget

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In a way to get a possibly get a compromise on tax breaks with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democrats, Senate Republicans will propose in their one-house budget a return of a property-tax rebate check program for seniors.

The move comes after Senate Republicans last week proposed a $1.3 billion plan to provide the checks, which were ended in 2009, to all homeowners, ranging from $250 to more than $900 per household.

Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference are set to release their one-house budget later today.

It will also include language that suggests room for compromise on increasing in the minimum wage and an increase in aid to municipalities — something also proposed by Assembly Democrats in their one-house budget released Friday.

Senate Republicans want to increase aid to municipalities by about $20 million, and increase aid to municipalities with VLTs by $7.6 million.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the one-house budgets can help get an agreement on a final budget deal, but “I don’t believe the numbers add up.”

The sides are hoping to have an agreement by a week from today in order to have the budget voted on by March 21 — the start of a two-week spring break. The fiscal year starts April 1.

Cuomo said he’s all for tax breaks and more aid to municipalities. But the state is dealing with a $1.3 billion budget gap.

“If they can figure out how to pay for it, I’m there,” Cuomo told reporters today.

On minimum wage, the language on the Senate one-house budget includes: “Like wages for many workers, the minimum wage has not kept up with the pace of inflation. The Senate will consider phasing in any minimum wage increase over three years beginning in 2013.”

But the Senate’s proposal doesn’t include how high a minimum wage they would be agreeable to. Assembly Democrats passed legislation last week that would increase it from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour in January, with future increases tied to the rate of inflation.

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  1. Jackson Davies on

    What a sorry image of Senate Republicans we see in this picture. Time to bring NYS govt into the 21st century and away from the tons of papers they CANT possibly read and go through on those miniature desks.