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Cuomo brings $15 minimum wage tour to central NY

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a rally in Solvay.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo took his $15 an hour minimum wage tour to Onondaga County on Wednesday. He is trying to drum up support for his proposals before Albany hammers out the details of this year’s budget. 

Speaking at a raucous pep rally filled with many union members in the village of Solvay, Cuomo said central New York is experiencing and economic comeback and dropped the names of development projects at the Inner Harbor, state fair and amphitheater as proof.   

“You say we’re not giving up the momentum now," Cuomo said to loud cheers from the audience. "We want that state government to represent Syracuse and central New York.”

On raising the minimum wage, Cuomo said a failure to do so means taxpayers will continue to pay welfare and food benefits for workers who are full time but still living below the poverty line.

“When you raise a minimum wage, that person does not put that money in their retirement property, that person goes out and spends that money and it winds up being an infusion, a stimulus to the economy,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo is also proposing to allow employees in New York state 12 weeks of partial paid family leave.

Republicans and some business owners in upstate New York have been critical of the governor’s proposals. Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey said the minimum wage hike will cripple small businesses and make it harder to find a job. April 1st is the deadline for New York state to pass a budget which may or may not include these proposals from the governor. If the minimum wage hike passes, it would have a gradual phase-in over six years in upstate New York.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.