ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a deal on the 2013 state budget Wednesday night, with plans to hike the minimum wage, cut taxes next year for hundreds of thousands of families and lower certain business taxes in a fiscal plan that will total more than $142 billion.
Lawmakers were being told not to expect passing bills before Saturday, and a host of final provisions – such as specific state aid numbers for individual school districts – won’t be known for days.
The deal includes:
• A $350 check to several hundred thousand households – those making between $40,000 and $300,000 with at least one child. The checks would not go out until next year.
• The minimum wage would be increased from the current $7.25 an hour to $8 in January and to $9 in January 2016.
• Other tax breaks include deduction for businesses to cover the minimum wage hike for workers under age 20; a cut in the utility tax, credit for hiring veterans and continuing a higher tax bracket on millionaires that was due to expire next year.
Cuomo said talks continue on any changes in the state’s laws on marijuana possession and the new gun control law.
Earlier in the day, lawmakers raised concerns that Cuomo has been trying to grab too much power over how state economic development money is spent through the 10 regional councils spread around the state. The issue was one the final logjams that held up a final deal
“There’s a concern the governor is attempting to expand the role of regional economic development councils to the exclusion of the Legislature,’’ Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told reporters following a brief closed-door meeting with Cuomo and legislative leaders at the Capitol.
The economic development issue is a sensitive one. The economic development councils are seen as Cuomo vehicles to disperse state cash, and while some lawmakers were put on the groups last year Silver himself said he was denied basic information about even who was applying for grant money.
“We are part of an appropriation process here and we should continue to be part of an appropriation process, and if there is no legislative authority for economic development councils, members are not subject to any rules or regulations, and if it’s a question of taking over appropriation authority in its entirety [it] is probably not appropriate,’’ the Democratic lawmaker from Manhattan said.
Cuomo acknowledged the issue was a topic for discussions, but he defended the way his administration has given out economic development funding the past two years.
Silver floated the idea of the Legislature having to approve the specific grant spending by the regional councils, instead of the current blank-check system that has lawmakers giving broad overall totals to the program but with no real role in how money is spent.
Other tentative budget deals held, including one to raise the minimum wage. Overnight, a flurry of calls was made by advocacy groups critical of the deal that leaves workers who make tips out of the wage hike. But Senate co-leader Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat, appeared unmoved. “You’re beyond the minimum wage,’’ he said of those workers whose wages are supplemented, sometimes, by healthy tip income.
Senate co-leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, hurried past reporters following his meeting with Cuomo and the Democratic leaders. “We’re making progress … We’re all happy,’’ he said.
Lawmakers said they have killed Cuomo’s plan to expand the Lottery’s Quick Draw game, which gambling treatment experts say is especially addictive. “That’s not happening,’’ said one top legislator.
The governor, seeking to raise at least $25 million, wanted to allow Quick Draw – an electronic, keno-like game – in hundreds of new establishments. He also proposed allowing those between 18 and 21 years old into bars to play Quick Draw; current law says someone in a bar must be 21 to play the game.
Cuomo, like previous governors before him, has been seeking to relax most of the remaining provisions that have restricted where and how often the game can be played. He would allow any store selling lottery games to offer Quick Draw. He also proposed lifting the rule that establishments must be at least 2,500 square feet in size to offer the game to patrons.
Another major snag all day was an effort by Cuomo to relax marijuana possession laws. But his plan would only apply to New York City, where minorities have said police target young blacks and Latinos. The idea drew sharp rebukes from upstate Democratic lawmakers, including Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, who called the proposal unfair to young people in upstate cities.