Efforts to raise minimum wage fall short
Despite a push by Democratic lawmakers, efforts to raise the state's minimum wage have fallen flat. Governor Cuomo says the philosophical divide in the fight is worse than the one he helped bridge last year on gay marriage. Our Zack Fink has more.
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NEW YORK STATE -- Governor Cuomo has repeatedly said that it's unlikely a deal to raise the minimum wage will get done this year. And that's because Majority Leader Dean Skelos strongly opposes it.
"I have said all along that we are not doing a minimum wage increase in the Senate," Skelos said.
But this week, the governor went a bit further in explaining why he believes it is insurmountable, telling reporters that the divide on this is even greater than the one on gay marriage.
"Yes, in my opinion it is," Cuomo said.
The governor was asked to expand on that.
Cuomo said, "I believe it’s a political, philosophical divide. Marriage, in some ways, was more of a personal judgment for people on their personal values."
Last year, Governor Cuomo was able to twist enough arms in the State Senate to get gay marriage passed. Insiders say they didn't know that enough votes would even be there until the day of the vote.
"We'd like to see those same type of skills and effort applied to the minimum wage, which, in reality, should be an easier issue because it’s about economics and not about faith or religion,” said Mark Dunlea of Hunger Action Network.
The legislature's biggest proponent of raising the minimum wage has been Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. He was asked if the governor needs to push harder for it to happen.
Silver said, "It's not a matter of pushing harder. The public is pushing harder. The polling indicates 78 percent of the public is in favor of it and I don't think the Senate can sustain their opposition."
Dunlea said, "I don't think gay marriage ever had 78 percent of the public supporting it."
There is a school of thought on this that governor doesn't support this issue. Insiders say he has already accomplished most of his goals laid out in his state of the state and he is not going to spend his considerable political capital on an issue he himself did not bring up.