Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a strong warning today to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, after Skelos equivocated yesterday on increasing the minimum wage and reforming the state’s campaign-finance laws.
“If Senator Skelos is opposed to the agenda of the people of the state, then I will oppose him, and then I will be involved,” Cuomo said on Fred Dicker’s radio show.
Skelos told reporters yesterday that the GOP and the Independent Democratic Conference hadn’t decided on issues to pursue in January when the legislative session starts.
“We haven’t made any decision or agreements as to what will come to the floor,” Skelos said.
Cuomo, along with Democrats and liberal groups, want to increase the minimum wage. It’s currently $7.25 an hour, and Democrats want to push it $8.50 an hour.
Groups also want the state to enact public financing of campaigns. Cuomo has called for the state to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana to end the so-called “stop-and-frisk” practice that has led to arrests, particularly of youth of New York City.
“They are wrong to oppose campaign-finance reform, they are wrong to oppose raising the minimum wage, they are wrong to oppose reforming the stop and frisk policies of this state,” Cuomo said. “And I will do everything in my power to get that agenda passed.”
Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, said that the GOP conference has worked with Cuomo during the past two years and have reached compromise on a number of issues. Cuomo has hailed his working relationship with Senate Republicans, including passing a property-tax cap and pension reform. Senate Republicans currently hold a 33-29 seat majority.
“If Senate Republicans have proven anything over the last two years, it’s that we can successfully work with Governor Cuomo to pass an agenda that benefits all New Yorkers,” Reif said in a statement. “The people want Democrats and Republicans to work together to get results, and we’re going to keep getting the job done for them in the
next legislative session.”