Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday further opened the door to taking his plan to hike the minimum wage out of his budget proposal, saying the goal is to pass it before the legislative session wraps up.
Speaking to reporters in the Bronx, Cuomo said he’s “committed to passing a minimum wage raise this session.” The 2013 legislative session is scheduled to run through June.
In his proposed budget, Cuomo included a plan to increase the state’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage to $8.75 beginning in July. But in his State of the Union address this month, President Barack Obama proposed increasing the national wage to $9.
“Now, whether or not the federal law will become a reality is a very big question mark,” Cuomo said. “So it’s not that we’re going to wait for a federal law, but we do need to consider both as we’re going forward.”
More from Cuomo:
“I am committed to passing a minimum wage raise this session. The current plan is to get it done by April … but whether it’s in the budget or the rest of the session, it has to get done by the end of the year. That’s the goal.”
Assembly Democrats are strongly in support of a minimum wage increase, but the Senate Republicans who share control of the upper chamber have expressed reservations. In a statement last week, a spokesman for Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos suggested it may be best to wait for the federal government to act.
Also Wednesday, Cuomo said he will unveil an amendment to his budget later in the afternoon that would allow the state Education Department to impose a teacher-evaluation plan for New York City schools if a deal can’t be reached.
The city school district forfeited a 4 percent increase in education aid when it couldn’t come to an agreement with the teachers union in January. A deal has remained elusive since.
“We’re going to be proposing an amendment to the budget that would give the state Education Department the authority to basically put a teacher evaluation system in place for New York City,” said Cuomo, who said there are still “wrinkles” in the amendment that need to be worked out.