One of the toughest sells in Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget was the call for an increase to the state's minimum wage. Business groups and Senate Republicans don't support the measure. But Cuomo is pushing hard for the plan, as Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman explains, using a new series of television ads to get his message out to the people.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Turn on your TV and there he is: Governor Andrew Cuomo's 30 second TV ad promoting his $142.6 billion budget plan.
“Tell your legislator to support the governor's no new taxes budget, because no new taxes means more new jobs,” the ad says.
The ads have been blanketing airwaves as Cuomo and lawmakers move to pass a budget not just by the April 1st deadline, but 11 days before the start of the fiscal year. Lawmakers plan to approve the final bills by March 21st in order to finish up work by the Passover holiday.
But there are sticking points, such as Cuomo's push to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75. The wage increase was included in Cuomo's budget proposal.
“The way it's proposed, no, and I would just mention, and I'm sure you know this, the governor has already indicated a willingness to compromise,” said Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos.
But Skelos says he's in the mood to compromise, too, saying this week he would be open to a gradual increase. That's a stark contrast to last year, when he called a wage increase a job killer.
Skelos said, “We're going to discuss it in the conference. We're going to think about it and perhaps a phase in would work. I want to talk to the business community, to the job creators and then we'll move forward.”
Cuomo, who met with legislative leaders this week, says the wage issue didn't come up.
“We are going to talk about the minimum wage in the future,” Cuomo said.
But Democrats in the Assembly and Senate are pushing for more, including an indexing of the minimum wage to inflation.
“Personally, I think that with the members in each House, it should be $8.75. There should be indexing. We should do it immediately,” State Senator Neil Breslin said.
Back to the governor's ad campaign. In the last two years, the governor has benefitted from an ad campaign from the Committee to Save New York, a group of real estate and other business interests that have spent millions on backing Cuomo's fiscal agenda. Now, with a new ethics law requiring greater donor disclosure and a decidedly liberal push on the minimum wage, the group's registration to lobby state government in 2013 is yet to appear.