Cuomo: Increasing minimum wage is a priority - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Cuomo: Increasing minimum wage is a priority

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ALBANY, N.Y. - As Governor Cuomo laid out how he plans to pay for his ambitious agenda this year, economic development was front and center. A key part of that is raising the minimum wage, Cuomo says.

Governor Cuomo has proposed to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 an hour.

Cuomo says total wages would increase by one billion dollars per year. "With more disposable income, workers will spend more and sales tax will increase," he said.

Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver has repeatedly pushed for the increase without the support of the Republican-controlled Senate. 

With a new power sharing agreement in the Senate between Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) the tides could be turning.

IDC leader Jeff Klein expressed his support and was quick to point out a recent study done by his conference.

"By increasing the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour will create close to 5,000 new jobs and pump six hundred million into the economy," Klein said, "Which is going to go right back to helping small businesses and local communities. So I think it's a win, win."

Opponents say many small businesses across the state, along with Senate republicans, say increasing the minimum wage would tack on costs for small businesses that can't afford it.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos reiterated that point, saying "My biggest concern is hurting small businesses, which are the job creators."

"I'm going to look at the entire budget and determine what I can be supportive of," Skelos said.

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