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Working Families Party: Cuomo Not Backtracking on Minimum Wage

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Albany/HV: Working Families Party: Cuomo Not Backtracking on Minimum Wage
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Last year, the Republican-led coalition in the state Senate agreed to raise New York's minimum wage, but advocates were disappointed because the increase tops out at $9 an hour at the end of next year.

But on Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a promise to the Working Families Party, calling for a higher wage that goes up automatically with inflation.

"I think the governor has certainly raised the bar, and hopefully we will all be able to get it passed," said Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

But after assuring the convention's delegates that he was with them on this critical issue for the left, Cuomo appeared to back away from the most controversial component that allows localities to set their own rates.

"I oppose municipalities being able to set their own wage. I did and I do," Cuomo said Sunday.

Officials from the Working Families Party said the governor is not backtracking.

"His commitment was $10.10, indexing and localities having the ability to raise the wage higher but within a framework of regulation so it's not unlimited ability but up to thirty percent higher. That's exactly what we had wanted," said Karen Scharff, of the Working Families Party.

Some on the left are skeptical of all Cuomo promised to deliver, including campaigning for a Democratic majority in the state Senate.

"Will the governor do everything that the Working Families Party wants him to do? Probably not," said Assemblyman Keith Wright, D-Manhattan.

This is a shortened week in Albany, which means there are only right legislative days remaining on the calendar. With Cuomo's move to the left, Republicans seem disinclined to move any progressive legislation in that time frame. That means that the minimum wage, the Dream Act and campaign finance reform will likely have to wait until Cuomo's second term, assuming he is re-elected.

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