Governor Andrew Cuomo who has been embracing many progressive economic positions in recent months is considering whether to include a proposal for paid family leave in his agenda. He is set to announce his proposals in his annual State of the State address which will be combined with his budget presentation on January 13.
The Governor is mounting a major campaign for the $15 minimum in his proposals. In recent days he has said that he will unilaterally raise that wage for state employees and those at the SUNY system. The legislation he is proposing would raise the wage to $15 for all workers in New York State. There has been speculation he will offer some tax incentives for businesses as part of the push since there is significant opposition brewing in upstate New York with some small businesses saying a minimum wage of $15/hour will result in layoffs.
There has been some thinking that the Governor might not push for the minimum wage and paid family leave at the same time but he met with advocates for the proposal last week. He has officially launched the “Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice” on the state website and the $15 minimum wage is the centerpiece. Whether there will be other planks in the campaign such as paid family leave is unclear. However, there is growing momentum for the paid family leave proposal. AARP is making the passage of the issue one of its priorities in 2016 as we noted last month.
Last week, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio announced he will extend paid family leave to employees who have newborns. His proposal does not go as far as the state bill to have paid family leave for all employees attending to a newborn or seriously ill family member. Cuomo, who has been in sharp conflict with deBlasio on a number of issues, may see an opportunity to go well beyond deBlasio’s proposal which received significant media attention.
Cuomo marked the first anniversary of his father’s death on January 1st and he seems intent on linking his father’s name to an issue like the minimum wage which he says helps the most vulnerable members of society that his father championed.