ALBANY, N.Y. — In New York state government news, the new year is bringing a minimum wage increase and a middle class tax cut.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is slowly revealing his wish-list for 2018.
A look at stories making news:
MINIMUM WAGE HIKE
Thousands of New Yorkers are poised to get a raise on New Year’s Eve.
The minimum wage will go up statewide Dec. 31 as part of Cuomo’s plan to gradually raise the wage to $15 statewide over several years.
The size of this year’s increase varies. The minimum wage will go from $11 an hour to $13 in most workplaces in New York City, from $10 to $11 on Long Island and Westchester County and from $9.70 to $10.40 an hour upstate.
The wage is scheduled to reach $15 an hour throughout New York City at the end of 2019. The wage will increase more gradually upstate, hitting $12.50 at the end of 2020. Further increases to $15 would be tied to economic indicators like inflation and set by state budget and labor officials.
TAX CUT LOOMS
An estimated 4.4 million New Yorkers will see their state income taxes go down in 2018 thanks to a phased-in $4.2 billion tax cut passed in 2016. It will ultimately reduce taxes for households with an income between $40,000 and $300,000.
The average savings for middle-class taxpayers in 2017 will amount to $250, increasing to an average of $700 when the cuts are fully phased in.
Jan. 1 also marks the start of the state’s long-awaited paid family leave program, which will authorize up to eight weeks of paid time off to care for a new child or ill loved one. The program will be funded by payroll deductions and is set to expand over the next four years. When fully phased in, workers will be able to take up to 12 weeks off while earning 67 percent of their weekly wage.
It’s become a holiday tradition: Cuomo, a Democrat, drops one proposal after another in the days and weeks leading up to his January state of the state address.
The trickle of initiatives helps build momentum for the governor’s 2018 agenda, but it can get a little confusing as the proposals pile up. As of Saturday, Cuomo had released 13 different proposals. Here’s our cheat sheet ahead of the address, scheduled for Jan. 3 in Albany.
Proposal 1: Require anyone convicted of a crime of domestic violence to surrender any firearms.
Proposal 2: Sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if it certifies General Electric Co.’s $1.7 billion Superfund cleanup of the upper Hudson River is complete.
Proposal 3: Renew a $100 million downtown revitalization contest for third year. The competition awards $10 million to 10 communities around the state for redevelopment.
Proposal 4: Boost spending on after-school programs, job training and other efforts to stem gang violence.
Proposal 5: Consider requiring tipped workers to be paid the state’s regular minimum wage, rather than the reduced amount they get now.
Proposal 6: Set aside $225 million to match savings from counties who find ways to save tax money by consolidating or sharing services.
Proposal 7: Spend $20 million to upgrade a wastewater treatment facility at Niagara Falls responsible for a stinky black discharge over the summer.
Proposal 8: Block a railroad company’s plans to store hundreds of mothballed rail cars in the Adirondacks.
Proposal 9: Consider pulling state pension fund investments in fossil fuels.
Proposal 10: Bring the New York Islanders back to the Long Island suburbs. The team, which moved to Brooklyn in 2015, won a bid to build a new arena on the grounds of Belmont Park.
Proposal 11: Require people convicted of disclosing sexually explicit photos of another person without their consent to register as sex offenders.
Proposal 12: Boost efforts to address algae blooms and water quality in upstate lakes.
Proposal 13: Impose new rules on online political ads to require the disclosure of the group paying for the ad; authorize early voting and streamline the voter registration process.
Proposal 14: Speed up work to contain and treat a toxic groundwater plume near a former military plane manufacturing plant on Long Island.