Posted at: 03/05/2013 4:04 PM
| Updated at: 03/05/2013 6:06 PM
By: Bill Lambdin
ALBANY - One day after state Senate Republicans said they weren't very excited about raising the minimum wage in New York from the $7.25 an hour it has been since 2009, Assembly Democrats mounted a strong show of support.
"We saw the last time there was a minimum wage increase by the legislature that you had over 20 percent of the young people in the state actually lost their jobs," Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, told a news conference Monday.
Tuesday Assembly Democrats mounted a strong show of support, vowing to pass a bill in their house raising the minimum to $9 per hour with an index for automatic increases to match inflation.
"To suggest that raising the minimum wage would have a dramatic impact on our businesses and our economy is an exaggeration at best," said Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.
Senate Republicans want middle class tax relief -- especially a return to the STAR property tax rebate checks. They had a chart showing all the cost pressures middle class citizens face, although those same cost pressures apply to minimum wage workers as well.
Silver indicated there doesn't appear to be the money to pay for the middle class tax relief, which is estimated to cost about $2 billion.
Both leaders are staking out positions for budget negotiations going on in private over the next two and a half weeks.
But if Democrats hold to stated support for the minimum wage increase, every Republican could oppose it in the Senate and it could still pass since mainstream Democrats and independent Democrats combined hold a majority.
"There's going to be a lot more discussion about the minimum wage and I believe between now and then the minimum wage will be part of the New York State budget," said Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island-Brooklyn, a member of the independent Democratic coalition.