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There is no budget deal to report as of this afternoon, but there are a few "tentative" ones the table — or at least floating around the halls of the Capitol.
The first deal would see the state's minimum wage incrementally increased to $9 an hour by 2016. That deal has some mainstream Senate Democrats rankled. Sen. Mike Gianaris told Susan Arbetter of The Capitol Pressroom that Senate Republicans who cut a deal with the Independent Democratic Conference have "outsize" influence in negotiations and that the deal is "half a loaf."
Sen. David Valesky of the Independent Democratic Conference responded in a statement accusing Gianaris of the "type of absolutism that prevented progress in the past."
Now there is word of a deal on marijuana laws. The New York City Council would be allowed to make possesion of small amounts of marijuana in public a ticketable offense rather than an arrestable offense under proposed legislation.
Some upstate legislators are upset that the measure would only impact New York City.
Sen. Jose Peralta wants action on legislation that would give young undocumented New Yorkers tuition assistance.
He is filing a motion to force the legislation out of committee in the Senate and has written Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking him to make the DREAM Act part of his budget.
"Under your stewardship, New York has blazed a trail on several of the great issues of our time," Peralta wrote in a letter to Cuomo today. "By passing the DREAM Act, we can take another such monumental step."
"The Fiscal Policy Institute has calculated that bachelor's degree holders pay an additional $3,900 in annual state taxes, meaning that TAP funding for the undocumented would more than pay for itself within six years on average," Peralta continued.
The Assembly has added $25 million for funding the DREAM Act to their budget plan. The deadline for a budget is April 1.
City Jobless Rate Rises
The city's jobless rate rose above 9 percent in January despite the fact that the city started the year with more jobs than it has ever had before. The State Labor Department found that the city added85,000 jobs in 2012 and started 2013 with 3.94 million jobs. The Labor Department has concluded that the city's jobless rate rose no higher than 9.5 percent last year and was at 8.8 percent by the end of the year.
Other Stories We're Following
City Park Staff to be Bolstered (Wall Street Journal)
Amendments to State Gun Law Package in The Works (Albany Times Union)