ALBANY, N.Y. -- As the governor and legislative leaders negotiated the budget, raising the minimum wage was an issue that received a lot of attention.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein called it a priority – and now NEWS10 is learning more about how it will be done. Under their agreement the minimum wage, now at $7.25 an hour, will increase to $9 - but it'll happen in three stages. By the end of 2013 it'll be $8, by the end of 2014 $8.75, then by 2015 $9. That was the rate the assembly already passed.
Still, opposition to the increase remains with the business community and farmers have continued to speak out.
"Our farmers have serious concerns because they work very hard under extreme financial conditions, with the high price of feed, fuel, labor and they question where they're going to get this money to pay their workers more," said Steve Ammerman of the NY Farm Bureau.
Mike Durant, the State Director for the National Federation
of Independent Business tells NEWS10 he has major concerns regarding raising
the minimum wage.
"We estimate that over the next 10 years, 23,000 jobs
will be lost via small business and $2.5 billion of economic output. Albany
does not create jobs, politicians do not create jobs," said Durant.
Assemblyman John McDonald explains why he says he'll vote to
raise the minimum wage. As a small business owner himself, he said he's seen
"I see that as a business owner that you're actually is
making a realistic wage and it's something that's going to motivate them," said
An outline of the 2013-2014 budget agreement:
A On-time Budget: The Budget closes a $1.3 billion gap with no new taxes or fees. New York State has not had three consecutive on-time or early budgets since 1984 and has not had a budget on track to pass this far before the April 1 deadline since 1976.
Cutting Taxes for Middle Class Families: Recognizing that New York's taxpayers have been overtaxed for too long, the Budget includes $1.125 billion in new tax cuts to middle class families over three years. Families with incomes between $40,000 and $300,000 will be eligible to receive a new child tax credit of $350 per year for three years, beginning in 2014.
Tax Cuts for Small Businesses: To provide tax relief to New York's job creators, the Budget includes nearly $800 million in tax relief for New York businesses over three years. With this tax relief, the Budget recognizes that cutting taxes sends a positive sign to the private sector that New York is pro-business and helps reverse New York's longstanding reputation as the tax capital of the nation.
Hiring Tax Credits: To help New York's returning soldiers and young people find work, the Budget includes a permanent tax credit for the hiring of Veterans, and $181 million in tax credits over three years for businesses that hire youth.
Reducing Costs and Red Tape for Businesses: To reduce the crushing burden of unemployment insurance and workers' compensation, the Budget modernizes and simplifies both systems to provide employers $1.3 billion in savings without affecting workers' benefits.
Investing in the Economy of Tomorrow: The Budget provides the initial funding to launch the Innovation Hot Spots program that will create or designate ten high-tech innovation incubators at locations affiliated with higher education institutions to encourage private-sector growth; a $50 million Innovation Venture Capital Fund that will provide critical seed and early-stage funding to incentivize new business formation and growth in New York State and facilitate the transition from ideas and research to marketable products.
Workforce Training for Job Openings: New York's workforce training is from a different era and a generic job training program does not fit today's economy. The Budget capitalizes on the opportunity of an estimated 210,000 unfilled jobs in the state by including $5 million for the Next Generation Job Linkage Program that works with employers to: identify the job; define the skill; and provide the training for it.
Protecting the Environment and Creating Green Jobs: The Budget increases support for the Environmental Protection Fund and the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, to launch new projects across the state that both create green jobs and protect New York's natural environment.
Building on the Success of the Regional Councils: The Budget includes a third round of the Regional Economic Development Councils including $150 million in new funding and $70 million in tax credits.
Promoting Upstate Tourism and Agriculture through Market NY: To bolster tourism and better market NY-made foods and produce, the Budget launches the Market NY initiative.
SUNY and CUNY Campuses Driving Private Sector Job Creation: The Budget includes a third round of the SUNY 2020 program and launches the CUNY 2020 program to provide competitive grants for projects that connect economic development and academic excellence. ($110 million)
Education Investments and Reforms
Increasing Funding for Education: The Budget reflects New York State's focus on creating a world-class education system that will fully prepare all of New York's students to compete in the 21st Century economy. To accomplish the goal, the Budget includes an increase of nearly $1 billion in education aid.
Pre-kindergarten Program Expansion: Recognizing that quality early education is critical for long-term success and that children who attend full-day pre-k often outperform their peers, the Budget provides additional investments in pre-kindergarten with an emphasis on high quality, full-day pre-k. Funding is targeted toward higher need students in lower wealth school districts via a competitive process. ($25 million)
State Increases Tied to Teacher Evaluations: To maintain New York State's leadership in holding teachers accountable for student achievement, the Budget continues to tie increases in funding for education to the implementation of a teacher evaluation system. No teacher evaluations means no state increase.
Extended Learning Time: Our existing education calendar is still based on an agrarian system and the United States lags behind other nations in terms of how much time students spend in the classroom. In order to provide increased learning opportunities, the Budget supports high-quality extended school day or extended school year programs, with academically enriched programming. Schools that apply to participate in the program must agree to expand learning time by 25 percent. The state will cover the full cost of expanding learning time for students. ($20 million)
Community Schools: Recognizing that a school is not just a "school" in distressed communities and that the demands of schools in wealthier districts are different than demands in lowest wealth districts, the Budget supports an innovative program designed to transform schools into community hubs that integrate social, health and other services, as well as after-school programming to support students and their families. ($15 million)
Reward High-Performing Teachers: To improve results and incentive high-performance, the Budget implements a program that will offer $15,000 in annual stipends for four years to the most effective teachers beginning with math and science teachers. ($11 million)
Early College High School Programs: To improve college access and success, the Budget provides new state funding to expand Early College High School programs. ($4 million)
Bar Exam for Teachers: To ensure the best and brightest are teaching our children, the State Education Department will increase the standards for teacher certification to require passage of a "bar exam," in addition to longer, more intensive and high-quality student-teaching experience in a school setting.
Other Budget and Legislative Actions:
Raises the Minimum Wage: Recognizing that New York's minimum wage is unlivable and that 19 other states have higher minimum wages than New York, the Budget raises the minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $9.00/hour over three years, beginning with $8.00 by the end of 2013, $8.75 by the end of 2014, and $9.00 by the end of 2015.
Lowering and Phasing Out the 18-a Utility Assessment: The Temporary Utility Assessment on electric, gas, water and steam utilities would be phased out over three years beginning in 2014-15.
Pension Stabilization Program: The Budget includes a Pension Stabilization Program that has been agreed to by the State Comptroller's Office for local governments to access short term relief as the savings of Tier VI begin to take effect.
Public Service Commission Reform: The Budget includes a number of reforms that were recommended by the Moreland Commission to give the Public Service Commission greater authority over the state's utilities.
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