minimum wage

With just three weeks and one day to go before a state budget deadline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders met to assess how far they have to go to reach a deal.

New York State lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol Wednesday following a two-week break for the President’s Day holiday.  Lawmakers have plenty to work on in the next few weeks leading up to the start of the state’s fiscal year, including whether to pass a minimum wage hike as part of the state budget.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made several changes to his budget plan in what are called 30-day amendments. These amendments range from imposing a teacher evaluation plan on schools in New York City, to cutting the cost of hunting licenses.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed raising the minimum wage as part of his budget plan, even though the increase would not cost New York State any money.  That tactic might make it easier for the proposal to become law.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $142 billion state budget, that includes federal aid for post Superstorm Sandy recovery, and closes a $1.3 billion dollar budget gap.

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In anticipation of the annual State of the State address, a coalition of progressive groups held their 23rd annual People's State of the State on the steps of the Capitol in Albany.

Food pantries and soup kitchens say they are reluctantly becoming a permanent part of the nation’s safety net for the poor. In a new report on New York’s charitable food distribution system, the groups say it is government that needs to step in and lend a helping hand.

The newly-formed coalition of Republicans and Democrats, who will run the New York state Senate for the new term starting in January, made their first public appearance. They responded to criticism that the new majority coalition leaves out blacks and Hispanics. 

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While the balance of the New York State senate remains unclear, as votes continue to be counted in a pair of close Senate races, activists are calling on a breakaway political coalition to stick with the Democrats. A coalition of union and community groups believe some important issues depend on it.

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Advocates for a minimum wage hike rallied at the state Capitol Monday, amid growing signals that there might not be a special session to deal with the issue, or any items at all this year.

A union-funded think tank finds that New York has the greatest income disparity in the nation. The Fiscal Policy Institute says that trend continues, with the top one percent gaining more financial resources, while the middle class is falling behind and the numbers of the poor are growing.

Everyone who votes on Tuesday in New York state will choose who will represent them in the state Assembly and Senate.  Very few of those races are truly competitive, with many incumbents running unopposed or against candidates who have no chance of winning.  The exception in central New York is the race for the newly created 127th Assembly district.. which is a rematch of a very close race two years ago.

Lawmakers are considering some changes to the seven-year-old living wage law in Syracuse. The tweaks are targeted at the people who serve you food when you fly out of town.

New York state lawmakers plan on leaving Albany for the summer on June 21, but they continue to be gridlocked on the issues of raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour, and offering tax breaks to small businesses as an incentive to create more jobs.

Supporters of raising New York’s minimum wage have not given up hope of getting a bill passed this session.

With just three weeks left in the legislative session, demonstrations and efforts to put the bill on the Senate floor continue.

For weeks, there’s been a stalemate in Albany over the issue of raising the state’s minimum wage, with Assembly Democrats backing the idea, Senate Republicans opposing it, and Governor Andrew Cuomo remaining neutral in the middle.

Cuomo says he generally backs the measure, but feels that the GOP can’t be convinced.   

Democrats in the State Assembly approved a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage.

The Republican leader of the State Senate offered a spirited defense of his position opposing the measure, but did not rule the issue out altogether.

Democrats in the Assembly approved a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has championed the measure, calls it a “moral imperative”.

“It is, I keep saying it, a moral issue,” said Silver.

Assembly Democrats say they have the votes to approve a minimum wage hike when a bill comes to the floor today.

The Catholic Church is weighing in on raising the state’s minimum wage, but Governor Andrew Cuomo says the chances of an increase becoming law are "dubious."

Governor Cuomo cast further doubt on issues like campaign finance reform and increasing the states minimum wage to become law this year, and says he’s “shifting” to a new phase of governing instead.

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The push for increasing minimum wage in New York state is taking place in hearings across the state. Central New Yorkers were able to chime in on the issue at a hearing in Syracuse today.

Millie Martinez of Syracuse needed help from an interpreter to tell of her plight at the minimum wage hearing in Syracuse today.

"The wage an hour is $7.75 and it is difficult for me to support my kids with that," her translator said.

Democrats in the State Senate held a forum promoting a hike in the state’s minimum wage, while a conservative group says there’s already a government program in place that  boosts the earnings of low wage workers well above the current minimum standard.

Some New York State lawmakers are trying to reinvigorate the debate over the minimum wage. Governor Cuomo admits it could again be on the table in Albany.

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